Hold the presses! That Bernie Sanders obituary needs to be saved for another day.
Going into yesterday’s Michigan Democratic primary, polls showed Hillary Clinton with a commanding lead of about 20%. A Clinton win would deal the Sanders camp a devastating defeat and amplify the conventional wisdom that her candidacy for president was inevitable.
But the polls got it wrong. Way wrong. Bernie Sanders pulled off an upset victory in a state most pundits had labeled “Clinton country.” After all, Clinton won Michigan in 2008.
Said pollster Steve Mitchell, of Mitchell Research and Communications, “No one predicted this. And only did we not get it right, no one was less than double digits for Hillary Clinton.”
“I think this changes it dramatically,” continued Mitchell. “This is coming into a major industrial state where Hillary Clinton had a strong network in place, where there is a quarter of the voters that are African American that should’ve been much more strongly in support of Hillary; they weren’t. She only won that vote by a 2:1 margin, according to exit polls. I think this changes it dramatically.”
While the media loves to talk about polls, Sanders’ win in Michigan shows us once again that polling is not voting.
“Polling drives momentum; it drives how people think. We wouldn’t be having this same conversation if we just were looking at the vote yesterday, but it’s such a dramatic thing because all these polls were showing her 25, 27 points up, which, quite frankly, I never believed,” said Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell.
Clinton did have a blowout win in yesterday’s Mississippi Democratic primary, carrying the state 83-17 percent over Sanders. And, at the end of the day, she did secure more delegates than Sanders, adding 84, compared with a net gain of 67 for Sanders. But that is not the big news. The takeaway from yesterday’s stunning Michigan victory is that the Sanders momentum cannot be blunted by the continued talk in the media of Sanders’ demise.
As George W. Bush once said, “You can’t listen to the polls. What do the Polish people know about American democracy anyway?”
Next up on March 15th, the big primary contests in Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina.
Let the pollsters poll. Let the voters vote. And never the Twain shall meet.
Photo | cnbc.com