General Election Match-Up Polls: State of the Race for April 11

Bernie Sanders polls, Bernie Sanders general election, Sanders vs. Trump

Bernie Sanders, here at a campaign rally in New York City, is struggling to catch up to Hillary Clinton in the primaries but polls well against Republican rivals. (Getty)

With both the Republican and Democratic campaigns coming down to the final states, the primary races are heating up. Bernie Sanders is slowly closing the gap against Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, but two major states are set to go Clinton’s way. Meanwhile, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump leads Ted Cruz by almost 200 delegates but is a long shot to clinch the nomination without the input of a GOP establishment that’s not too fond of him.

Democratic Delegate Count 2,383 Needed (Includes Superdelegates)
Hillary Clinton 1,756
Bernie Sanders 1,068


Republican Delegate Count 1,237 Needed
Donald Trump 743
Ted Cruz 545
John Kasich 143

With the conventions looming, a lot of minds are turning to the general election. RealClearPolitics polling aggregations show that both Clinton and Sanders beat either Cruz or Trump, though Ohio governor John Kasich, despite being far back in his own party’s polls, beats Clinton head-to-head and keeps it within 3 points against Sanders.

Here’s a look at the state of the race:

Hillary Clinton vs. Republicans

Clinton vs. Trump

In good news for Democrats, Hillary Clinton shows well against both of the GOP frontrunners in matchup polling aggregations.

RealClearPolitics: Clinton vs. Trump Clinton Trump
McClatchy/Marist 50 41
Investors Business Daily 47 35
Public Policy Polling 48 41
Fox News 49 38
Average 49.6 39

Trump’s last victory against Clinton head-to-head was a 2-point edge in a USA Today poll in February. Clinton has won all but five matchups with Trump since RealClearPolitics began tracking the matchup in May 2015.

Clinton vs. Cruz

Clinton leads Cruz in the plurality of recent polls, but it’s a much closer race than her matchup with Trump.

RealClearPolitics: Clinton vs. Cruz Clinton Cruz
McClatchy/Marist 47 47
Investors Business Daily 44 39
Public Policy Polling 45 42
Fox News 44 47
Average  46.4 43.9

Clinton vs. Kasich

In contrast to the other two candidates, Kasich actually beats Clinton head-to-head:

RealClearPolitics: Kasich vs. Clinton Kasich Clinton
McClatchy/Marist 51 42
Investors Business Daily 45 38
Public Policy Polling 45 41
Fox News 51 40
Average 48 41.4

Kasich has led every major poll matchup vs. Clinton since a Public Policy Polling survery last August.

Sanders vs. Republicans

Sanders vs. Trump

As you might expect from the least liked facing the most liked, Sanders easily beats Trump in head-to-head polling.

RealClearPolitics: Sanders vs. Trump Sanders Trump
McClatchy/Marist 57 37
Investors Business Daily 53 36
Public Policy Polling 48 40
Fox News 52 38
Average 53.9 37.4

Trump most recently won a 2-point victory in a USA Today poll in February. Despite currently being at a higher deficit to Sanders, Trump’s actually won more against him than Clinton, having taken six polls and tying another in a shorter time frame (since July) than Clinton (May).

Sanders vs. Cruz

Sanders leads Cruz by double digits in an average of the most recent polls.

RealClearPolitics: Sanders vs. Cruz Sanders Cruz
McClatchy/Marist 53 41
Investors Business Daily 50 38
Public Policy Polling 48 41
Fox News 47 43
Average 50.7 40.6

Cruz has won four of the 18 matchup polls he’s had with Sanders since RealClearPolitics began tracking in October 2015.

Sanders vs. Kasich

While Sanders, unlike Clinton, extends his winning streak over Republicans to Kasich, it’s a significantly closer race than over Kasich’s Republican rivals, with Kasich leading several recent polls.

RealClearPolitics: Sanders vs. Kasich Sanders Kasich
McClatchy/Marist 52 41
Investors Business Daily 45 42
Public Policy Polling 41 44
Fox News 43 44
Average 46 43.3

A potential Sanders/Kasich matchup has been tracked by RealClearPolitics since February 2016. Sanders has led in five of the polls measuring the matchup, with Kasich taking four.

The Betting Markets Favor the Democrats

The betting markets, as aggregated by PredictWise, don’t track hypothetical matchups, and likely won’t handle general election candidates by name until they’re named as such at the party conventions. In party terms, however, the markets like the Democrats’ chances, giving the party a 73 percent chance to take the White House against just 27 for the Republicans.

Part of this, however, is likely due to their confidence in Trump regarding the primaries. Though it was as high as 80 percent at the beginning of March, the markets still hold Trump as a 56 percent favorite to take the nomination. Given Trump’s double-digit losses to both Democratic candidates, it’s a reasonable prediction, but it does require Trump to clinch the nomination, which is very much up in the air.

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