Jewish American Presidential Hopeful Bernie Sanders Gets Off to Solid Start

Polls show that 38% of Democrats view him favorably, with 20% sharing a 'very favorable' opinion of him.

Jacob Kornbluh
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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 30, 2015, to speak to the media about his agenda in running for president.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., walks on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 30, 2015, to speak to the media about his agenda in running for president.Credit: AP
Jacob Kornbluh

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has some believers in his candidacy for president. A new poll by Rasmussen poll, published Tuesday morning, showed that while 63% of likely Democratic primary voters think the independent liberal senator is unlikely to win the nomination in 2016, as many 23% believe Sanders is likely to beat Hillary Clinton and win their party’s nomination.

Among all likely voters, 19% think Sanders is likely to win his party’s nomination, but 64% view that outcome as unlikely.

Considering Hillary’s statue and name recognition, an overwhelming 91% of Democrats believe she is likely to be their party’s presidential nominee in 2016, including 66% who say it is “very likely,” the poll showed.

Just as his announcement drew positive feedback, Sanders is also starting off with pretty good numbers. 38% of Democrats view him favorably, with 20% who share a “very favorable” opinion of him, while 18% have an unfavorable view. Since he is viewed as a ideological candidate running to the left of Hillary, the poll showed his favorablity among liberal voters at a 48 percent.

More significant is that 44% of voters in his own party don’t know enough about Sanders at this point to voice any kind of opinion of him. In comparison, just 5% of Democrats have no opinion of Clinton.

A poll published by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News, conducted before Sanders entered the race, showed that as many as 43 percent prefer that the Democrats find a candidate to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president. Some 56% say they remain unconcerned about the absence of a potent primary threat to Clinton, according to the poll, down from 61% in March.

Clinton has mainly lost ground among white Democrats, as more than half – 53% – want to see another candidate challenge Mrs. Clinton in the primary, up from 38% in March.

Sanders, a Brooklyn native, was born to Polish Jewish immigrant parents, whose family was mostly wiped out during the Holocaust, according to a 2007 New York Times profile. After he graduated from the University of Chicago in 1964, he spent several months in Israel on a kibbutz, according to Religious News. He served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991, and in the U.S. Senate since 2007.

The longtime Jewish progressive also got a warm welcome by the National Jewish Democratic Council. “Throughout his career, Sen. Sanders has fiercely fought for progressive values – values that characterize the vast majority of Jewish Americans,” the NJDC said in a statement. ” We are particularly pleased to see a strong Jewish progressive leader entering the race in what should be a moment of pride for all Jewish Americans. The coming months will provide an opportunity for the country to hear from all our candidates, and we have no doubt that the eventual Democratic nominee will be a strong and compassionate leader who will best represent the values of American Jewish voters.”

Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley is another potential candidate who may want to fill that vacuum, especially after his confident and fiery appearance on Meet the Press Sunday morning.

Jacob Kornbluh is a political correspondent for

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