As Bernie Sanders reaffirms his pledge to contest the Democratic presidential nomination all the way through July’s party convention, one of his fundamental obstacles remains his consistent weakness among voters who identify as actual Democrats.
Results from the exit polls conducted in 27 states through the nominating contest so far show that Hillary Clinton has established a huge lead over Sanders among voters who self-identify as Democrats. Sanders, though trailing in the popular vote and delegate count, has remained competitive only because he has built a virtually identical lead among primary voters who self-identify as independents.
This pattern has persisted across all regions of the country and crystallizes the offsetting strengths and weaknesses that have defined the two combatants through their unexpectedly extended contest.
Across the 27 exit polls, voters who identify as Democrats have cast exactly three-fourths of the ballots in the primaries, according to new figures provided by CNN Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta. Those Democratic voters have preferred Clinton over Sanders by a cumulative margin of 64 percent to 35 percent.
Independents and Republicans have comprised 22 percent of the total primary electorate. Among those voters from outside of the Democratic Party, the results are almost exactly reversed: they have preferred Sanders by an equally emphatic 64 percent to 34 percent.