You probably won't be surprised to hear that a new poll has found Bernie Sanders to be the most popular active politician in the United States. The poll, conducted by Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies and Harris Insights and Analytics, estimates that nearly 60 percent of Americans hold favorable views of the Vermont senator. Interestingly, news of the poll comes at the same time Sanders finds himself facing backlash for supporting anti-abortion lawmaker Sen. Heath Mello.
“In losing to Hillary [Clinton], Bernie Sanders has floated above today’s partisan politics while Bannon has, rightly or wrongly, taken the blame for the administration’s failures,” said Mark Penn, co-director of Harvard-Harris. “It is symptomatic of the Democrats increasingly consolidating to the left while the Republicans are fractured and unable to come together. Sanders is an asset to the Democrats while Bannon is a liability to the administration.”
A breakdown of opinions shows that among different demographics, a majority view the progressive lawmaker in a positive light: 80 percent of Democrats, 58 percent of women, 55 percent of men, 73 percent of African Americans, 68 percent of Hispanics, 52 percent of whites, 62 percent of Asians, and 62 percent of Americans between the ages of 18-34.
Sanders and Tom Perez were on the receiving end of criticism on social media on Thursday thanks to their support for Mello. A quote by Perez arguing that support of reproductive rights should not be a litmus test for Democratic politicians, as well as a similar statement by Sanders, added fuel to the fire.
The president of NARAL, Ilyse Hogue, also publicly chastised their embrace of Mello. "The actions today by the DNC to embrace and support a candidate for office who will strip women — one of the most critical constituencies for the party — of our basic rights and freedom is not only disappointing, it is politically stupid," she said in a statement.
Sanders' fellow progressive Elizabeth Warren also fared well, according to the poll — 38 percent of survey participants approve of the Massachusetts senator.
Given Trump's staggeringly low approval ratings, one might have expected him to be declared the least popular politician in the country, but he was saved from that indignity by his senior advisor Steven Bannon, who only has the approval of 16 percent of Americans. With only 44 percent of the public holding a positive view of him, President Trump's ratings are still very low.
Since the Harvard-Harris poll is released monthly, it'll be interesting to see if Sanders' popularity will have taken any sort of hit come May.