Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton leads rival Bernie Sanders by 13 percentage points in Indiana, according to statewide polling conducted for IPFW.
Clinton was favored by 54 percent of respondents and Sanders by 41 percent, with 5 percent undecided ahead of Indiana’s primary election on Tuesday.
The survey, commissioned by IPFW’s Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics, found that while 93 percent of Clinton’s supporters said their preference for the former secretary of state is strong, only 75 percent of Sanders’ backers said the same thing about the Vermont senator.
The relative lack of strong support for Sanders, who typically draws large crowds to his campaign rallies, is "a little bit surprising" and "opposite of what conventional wisdom would be," IPFW political scientist Michael Wolf said Wednesday.
Wolf said the most frequent answer to the question of why a respondent favors Sanders was "not sure," and the next most common response was a negative opinion of Clinton. Clinton’s supporters most often cited her experience and qualifications.
Wolf and Downs Center director Andy Downs presented preliminary poll results at a panel discussion at the Honors Center in the Walter E. Helmke Library. They said the telephone survey of 400 likely voters, nearly all of them Democrats, was conducted April 18-23 and has a 4.9 percent margin of error.
More than 94 percent of Clinton’s supporters said they probably would vote for Sanders if he were the Democratic nominee in the November general election, while only 75 percent of Sanders’ backers said they would vote for Clinton if she were the nominee.
Downs said Sanders "is drawing in a group of voters who are not necessarily traditional Democratic primary voters, and in some instances, not traditional voters, either."
Among poll respondents younger than 35, roughly 61 percent favor Sanders, according to the survey. Among respondents 65 and older, 73 percent said they would vote for Clinton.
Fifty-eight percent of men and more than 50 percent of women participating in the IPFW poll said they support Clinton.