Senator Bernie Sanders is one of the frontrunners in the ongoing race to secure the Democratic nomination to run for the highest office in 2020. The self-described Democratic socialist has built up a lot of momentum, raising $5.9 million dollars within the first 24 hours of his announcement. Yet Sanders has seen his popularity decline over the past two months.
46 percent of voters now view Sanders favorably while 45 percent view him unfavorably, according to a poll conducted by CNN. Sanders had high favorability ratings during the 2016 primary. In June of 2016, Sanders enjoyed a 59 percent favorability rating.
Worse yet for Sanders, just 30 percent of Democrats believe that their party will have a better chance of winning the Oval Office if he is the nominee. 59 percent believe that Democrats stand a better chance with someone else.
Meanwhile, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), who is likewise a self-described Democratic socialist, is also seeing her popularity decline. Just 31 percent of voters view AOC favorably, while 41 percent view her unfavorably, according to Gallup.
AOC’s favorability among young Americans, women, and people of color remains net positive and generally strong. However, a majority of white males view her negatively, as do older Americans. AOC has blasted the media for claiming that she is unpopular among “all Americans,” noting that she remains popular among most subsets.
So what’s going on? Several factors could be at play. As AOC and Sanders gain more media time, some Americans are getting their first impressions of them. In fact, 29 percent of voters either don’t know about AOC or have no opinion. Some of those being exposed for the first time may not like what they’re hearing.
Meanwhile, conservative media companies have also been highly critical of both politicians, and for many, “Democratic socialism” is a dirty word. On the other hand, both Sanders and AOC enjoy strong, energetic, and solidified bases.