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10 Reasons Bernie Sanders Is Surging in the Polls Ahead of the Debate

10 Reasons Bernie Sanders Is Surging in the Polls Ahead of the Debate
Thousands of people gather to hear Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during a campaign rally at the Prince William County Fairground September 14, 2015 in Manassas, Virginia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 13 October 2015 08:44 AM

Bernie Sanders, the independent socialist senator from Vermont, continues to surge in the polls, and will seek to steal the spotlight from Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton during Tuesday night's first primary debate in Las Vegas.

Indeed, Sanders has jumped from 4 percent to 26 percent in the polls over the last six months, according to an average of national surveys reported by Real Clear Politics

Gathered below are 10 reasons Sanders has gained supporters at the expense of his rivals.

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1. He is authentic and unwavering in his socialist convictions — Having long described himself as a democratic socialist, Sanders said in a July interview with The Nation, "Do they think I'm afraid of the word 'socialist'? I'm not afraid of the word." Last Sunday, "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd asked Sanders point blank: "Are you a capitalist?" The senator said, "No. I’m a democratic socialist." While a majority of Americans have said in past polls that they would never support a socialist for president, a subset of the liberal base finds the far-left position appealing, and because Sanders has been trumpeting it for decades, he's seen as a man of true conviction.

2. His chief rival is a flip-flopperJonah Goldberg of National Review pointed out this week that even the liberal media — including Slate, CNN, Vox, and "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd — have expressed deep skepticism in the face of Clinton's recent flip-flop on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Since 2008, the issues Clinton has changed position on include federal "blanket rules" on guns, same-sex marriage, the recent Planned Parenthood videos, driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, the Iraq War, NAFTA, and taking credit for regime change in Libya. According to pollsters, the inconsistency in her rhetoric has contributed to spike in the number of people who've said they think she's untrustworthy.

3. His campaign is built from the grassroots up
— "For many liberals, Mr. Sanders is the only candidate who speaks honestly about the corrupting influence of money in politics and who, true to his word, rejects big-money donations," The New York Times wrote this week.

4. He's a smart tactician — During Tuesday's Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas, National Nurses United, the largest nurses union in the country, will rally for Sanders, CNN reported. Working with Sanders' campaign team, the nurses will march from the nearby Treasure Island Hotel to the debate site at the Wynn Las Vegas, making a show of force on behalf of Sanders.

5. He takes his candidacy seriously
— Unlike his rival Clinton, who flippantly responded to a question about wiping her email server with a joke, Sanders understands that the presidency is not something to be taken lightly. When The New York Times Magazine asked him about his hair compared to Donald Trump's, he responded, "I don't mean to be rude here. I am running for president of the United States on serious issues, okay? Do you have serious questions?"

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6. He is a savvy politician — While Sanders is Jewish, he has praised Pope Francis for "reaching out to people all over the world with an incredibly strong message of social justice, talking about the grotesque levels of wealth and income inequality." This shows that even when he doesn't agree with someone on all the issues — in this case: gay marriage and abortion rights — he knows how to find common cause, and win supporters from outside of his natural base.

7. He has leftist street cred — When it comes to the politics of personality, Clinton has long styled herself as a smart feminist in a pantsuit, which has been popular among degree holders and single women. Sanders, however, scored major points with the leftist grassroots when "Late Night" host Seth Meyers spotlighted his folk album from 1987, "We Shall Overcome." "So now we have learned that I do . . . bad music — but I do have other attributes," Sanders joked with Meyers. Elsewhere, Democratic rival Martin O'Malley has played up his ability to play the guitar and the banjo, and has won support playing for his constituency.

8. He has big celebrity endorsementsAccording to People magazine, Sanders has been publicly endorsed by Neil Young, Danny DeVito, Will Ferrell, Sarah Silverman, Ben Foster, Zoë Kravitz, Patton Oswalt, Margaret Cho, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nikki Reed, rapper Killer Mike, and more.

9. He has the endorsement of Progressive Caucus leaders — Progressive Caucus co-chairmen Rep. Raul Grijalva and Rep. Keith Ellison have both endorsed Sanders. Not only is the congressional caucus the largest in the Democratic conference, but Sanders helped found the group as a member of the House in 1991, and is currently the only member of the caucus from the Senate, according to MSNBC.

10. He draws massive crowds
— Unlike his rivals, Sanders has been drawing shockingly big crowds to his events — a strong sign he's connecting with real voters, and not just Beltway media types. According to The Washington Post, he drew an estimated 27,500 people to an August event in Los Angeles, which was "about five times as large as any crowd that has turned out for Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton."

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Bernie Sanders, the independent socialist senator from Vermont, continues to surge in the polls, and will seek to steal the spotlight from Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton during Tuesday night's first primary debate in Las Vegas. Here are 10 reasons he's doing well with voters.
bernie sanders, surge, polls, debate
Tuesday, 13 October 2015 08:44 AM
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