While Sen. Bernie Sanders has taken the first step in any successful liberal insurgency, striking a nerve with a faction of voters, he appears to be on the verge of bumping up against his natural ceiling. To go from having his 15 minutes to being a true contender, the Vermonter is going to have to get out of his comfort zone. Maybe lay off the single-payer health care, drop the trillion-dollar price tag on his jobs bill or even *gasp* start a Super PAC.
Though Sanders is within 10 points of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire and gaining quick in Iowa, a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll suggests limited room for growth. When asked “could you see yourself supporting” different candidates for president, only 40 percent of Democrats would even entertain the possibility of supporting Sanders. By contrast, a whopping 92 percent can imagine backing Clinton.
What’s holding him back? The answer is simple: electability. In a recent Bloomberg poll, which pegged Sanders’ support at 24 percent in Iowa and New Hampshire, only 12 percent of Democrats in those states expressed confidence that Sanders could beat the Republican nominee. That means half of his own supporters don’t believe he can win the White House.