Three months into the first stage of the presidential election process, the field has narrowed to four candidates on the Republican side and Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are battling it out for each state on the Democratic side. In a recent poll, IVN found that if the election were held today, Bernie Sanders would carry the independent vote in a landslide.
IVN conducted its latest presidential poll using the approval voting method (meaning respondents could select as many candidates as they wanted). The poll garnered 5,306 responses, asking respondents to answer two questions:
1. If the presidential election were held today, for whom would you vote?
2. What political party, if any, do you think best represents your views?
Of the total responses, Bernie Sanders leads the field with 55 percent, followed by Donald Trump at 25 percent, and Hillary Clinton at 11 percent. John Kasich was the second-strongest Republican candidate in the poll with 7 percent selecting him as at least one of their choices.
On the subject of political parties, twenty-seven percent (27%) of respondents said that the Democratic Party best represents their views, which came in second to the number of people who felt none of the parties represent their views (32%).
This explains why Bernie Sanders had such a commanding lead. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of the respondents who said the Democratic Party best represents their views selected Bernie Sanders as one of their choices.
Among independent voters, sixty-four percent (64%) selected Bernie Sanders, twenty percent (20%) selected Donald Trump, and nine percent (9%) selected Kasich. Hillary Clinton actually came in fourth among "Nones" with 6.5 percent.
Respondents were able to select more than one candidate from the entire presidential field, regardless of political party, which highlighted just how independent-minded many voters truly are when given the opportunity to show it.
Many respondents who said the Democratic Party best represents their views, for instance, said they were also willing to vote for one or more candidates on the GOP side or third party candidates like Jill Stein and Gary Johnson.
Three percent of those who said the Republican Party best represents their views even included Bernie Sanders in their choices, showing that for many voters, their choices are not restricted by party lines.
The poll ran from February 27 to March 7. In full disclosure, the poll specifically targeted the IVN audience and is not a proportional sampling of the U.S. population.