This isn't Iowa. Or New Hampshire. In fact, it's hard to think of a state with less influence on the presidential nominating contest than lowly Vermont, which sent just 27 delegates to the Democratic National Convention in 2012 — out of a total of 5,554. (Remember who Vermont Democrats backed in 2004? Yep, their former governor, Howard Dean, who won no other states.)
If anything, the Castleton poll tells us what we already know: Vermonters, by and large, love Bernie.
Of the 608 people surveyed early last month, 53 percent said they'd send him to the White House. Just 33 percent said they wouldn't, while 13 percent said they weren't sure or didn't have an opinion. The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 4 percent.
Sanders found the most support for his hypothetical run from women and younger Vermonters. While 65 percent of those age 18 to 24 said they'd support him, only 44 percent of those 65 and over said they would. Though regional differences were slight, Sanders found marginally less support on his home turf of Chittenden County. There, 47 percent backed a presidential bid, while 39 percent did not.
The biggest variation, unsurprisingly, came down to party affiliation. Sixty-seven percent of Democrats said they'd support Sanders, while 56 percent of independents and 21 percent of Republicans said the same.
The biggest surprise was just how many people thought Sanders has "a realistic chance of becoming president of the United States." Though even his biggest supporters among the political chattering classes think he's a long-shot — to put it charitably — some 30 percent of Vermonters surveyed said they thought he could win. Fifty-seven percent thought not, while 13 percent said they weren't sure or didn't know.
The full results of Castleton's poll can be found here.