IA, NH Focus Groups Say Sanders Increasingly Likely To Win Against Clinton

With All Due Respect hosts John Heilemann and Mark Halperin unveiled the results of focus groups conducted in Iowa and New Hampshire on Morning Joe Wednesday.

"There’s a real sea change. In my past reporting in New Hampshire and Iowa, a lot of people said, ‘I really like Bernie and I agree with him on a lot of things compared to Hillary, but he’s not going to win. We got to go with the person who's going to win,’" Halperin said. "In these two groups you saw–unanimously in the New Hampshire group—every one of them said Bernie Sanders would win the New Hampshire primary."

Halperin said that as more people view Sanders as a legitimate option with a chance of winning, more voters are likely to join his side. Joe Scarborough called it the same "snowball effect" that propelled Barack Obama’s campaign in Iowa in 2007.

"I was really surprised you guys went around in New Hampshire and it's all Bernie and I said, OK, that makes sense, and then went to Iowa and had a lot of Bernie support there too—and I started thinking wait, is this like in Iowa 2007 when Republicans came up to me and said they were going to be voting for this guy Barack Obama?" Scarborough said. "You just get a sense something's starting to happen out there."

Heilemann found similar answers from his focus group.

"The interesting thing for me, I asked everyone if they could imagine Bernie Sanders in the White House and all but a couple could imagine that possibility," he said. "We discussed what that would be like and people thought that would be a positive thing."

As positive the responses on Sanders were from undecided Democrats, the reactions to Hillary Clinton were tepid.

"Even though there was a lot of warmth and respect for Clinton, there was more enthusiasm and electricity for Sanders," Heilemann said.

"I asked, ‘What is Bernie talking about?’ and they had lots to say," Halperin said. "I said, ‘What are some policy proposals Hillary Clinton made?’ Crickets. They didn't know anything about what she had talked about."