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Why Barack Obama can help Hillary Clinton win over Bernie loyalists, in one chart

Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders at the White House on Thursday a few hours before Obama endorsed Hillary Clinton.
Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders at the White House on Thursday a few hours before Obama endorsed Hillary Clinton.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sidelined for a long presidential primary, the Democratic Party's heavy artillery is finally getting rolled out for the general election battle.

For Hillary Clinton, the arrival doesn't come a moment too soon.

Shortly after meeting with Bernie Sanders at the White House, President Barack Obama announced in an endorsement video on Thursday that he would be throwing his weight fully behind Clinton.

Word soon followed that Obama and Clinton would be hitting the campaign trail together. On Wednesday, news leaked that key progressive firebrand Sen. Elizabeth Warren plans to endorse Clinton. Even key Sanders allies, like Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, are now prominently urging Bernie die-hards to rally behind the party's nominee.

Will they help win over the 50 percent of Sanders voters who say they won't vote for Clinton in a general election? Nobody knows for sure, of course, but polling suggests that Sanders loyalists will be receptive to the message of top Democrats, including Obama:

As the Economist/YouGov polling shows, Sanders's voters who say they refuse to vote for Clinton still overwhelmingly support Obama, Warren, and Vice President Joe Biden. The contest between Clinton and Sanders may have divided the party along new lines, in other words, but Obama looks very well-positioned to stitch it back together.

More than 80 percent of Democrats approve of his job as president:

Most commentators have long assumed that the left flank would swing behind Clinton when facing a Donald Trump presidency. But Clinton's reputation really was hammered over the course of the primary, at least opening the door for them to stay home or defect to Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Clinton's favorability ratings among Democrats, for instance, fell by more than 20 points. Close to 60 percent of young people think of her unfavorably — up 17 percent from the course of the primary, according to Morning Consult. Two-thirds of Sanders voters say she's not honest or trustworthy.

Those impressions will be hard to shake off. On Thursday, though, the Democratic Party's top players got to work.


Obama meets with Sanders, endorses Clinton

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