There's a growing consensus among political pundits that the chaotic nature of the Democratic primary, including Wednesday night's debate in Las Vegas, is benefiting President Trump politically. A surprising new voice has joined this chorus: Democratic candidate Mike Bloomberg.
"Look, the real winner of the debate last night was Donald Trump," the former New York City mayor told a room full of supporters in Salt Lake City, Utah. "Because I worry that we may be on the way to nominating someone who cannot win in November."
Bloomberg added, "If we choose a candidate who appeals to a small base like Sen. [Bernie] Sanders, it will be a fatal error."
'We need independents and Republicans to win'
In his remarks, Bloomberg also emphasized that Sanders cannot appeal to moderate Republicans and independent voters.
"We need Democrats and independents and Republicans to win," he said. "And that was the coalition that propelled Democrats to success in the midterms and it is the coalition that we need to win in November."
Bloomberg has a point. According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News national poll, two-thirds of American voters say they would not vote for a socialist for president.
What do the polls show?
Battleground state polling seems to support Bloomberg's observation. A Quinnipiac survey released Thursday showed President Trump with a clear 7-point lead over Sanders in the key swing state of Wisconsin. It is also difficult to imagine Sanders carrying a state like Florida with a large anti-socialist Hispanic population.
Also, an ABC News/Washington Post survey showed Sanders with the narrowest of leads among college-educated white women of any candidate in the Democratic field. This was a constituency that Hillary Clinton is said to have carried by 6 points in 2016.
Meanwhile, a new Gallup survey shows Trump matching his record-high 49% approval rating, "up five points from an early January poll conducted before Trump was acquitted by the Senate in his impeachment trial," according to the pollster.
Gallup also noted that Trump's 49% job approval rating coincides with increasing optimism over the state of the nation. Analyst Jeffrey M. Jones noted the "percentage who are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. had already improved from 36% to 41% in a Jan. 3-16 poll, before the rise in Trump's job approval rating in late January."
Additionally, Jones said that the percentage of Americans satisfied with the nation is the highest in over a decade. "The latest survey finds a further increase in national satisfaction, with 45% now satisfied, the highest since February 2005."
Gallup also found an uptick in the number of Americans who identify as Republicans, up to 32% from 28% in previous studies.