Democrats are really, really starting to like Hillary Clinton.
The front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination has seen her net favorable rating jump 14 points among Democrats and those who lean to the left since the first Democratic debate in October, while her top competitor -- Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont -- has seen his own rating stay fairly stagnant, according to Gallup polling released this week. Both candidates, along with former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, will take the stage again Saturday in Iowa for the second official debate of the Democratic primary.
Since the Oct. 13 debate, which was largely deemed a Clinton win, the former secretary of state has not only ridden a high from her performance that night, she also was able to maintain her cool – and again come out on top from a political perspective – while under fire during a marathon hearing before Congress on the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
According to Gallup, Clinton now has a 63 percent net favorable rating among those on the left, up from 49 percent just before the debate. Her current tally is her highest since Gallup began tracking views of the candidates in July.
Sanders, though, has a lot of work to do.
While many Democrats were impressed with his debate performance, he apparently didn't do enough to change opinions of him. Since just before the debate, his net favorable rating has dropped 1 percentage point to 38.
So what does Sanders have to do Saturday to get on Democrats' good side? It looks like he'll have to win over minorities -- specifically black Democratic voters who are largely in support of Clinton at this point.
Ten facts you should know about Hillary Clinton:
Clinton has a nearly 90 percent net favorable rating among non-Hispanic blacks, according to Gallup, compared with Sanders' meager rating of 21 percent. That gap has gotten even worse since before the last debate, when the difference was a lower -- but still substantial -- 55 percentage points.
As The Washington Post has noted, Sanders has struggled to connect with black voters, many of whom don't know much about him. While focusing on economic inequality, he's been perceived as not adequately responding to the recent deaths of unarmed African-Americans at the hands of police.
As such, the senator has had a tumultuous relationship with Black Lives Matter protesters, who have interrupted some of his events. After a pair interrupted his speech in Seattle, he left the stage and said he was "disappointed."
Since then, Sanders has made an effort to mend the relationship by meeting in person with members of the movement. And when asked during the first debate whether "black lives matter or all lives matter," he stressed the former, invoking the death of Sandra Bland and a "need to combat institutional racism from top to bottom."
See Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail:
Still, the Gallup polling showed Clinton is even more well-liked among liberals than Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, with Clinton holding an 11-point lead in favorability among the sector.
The senator also, quite simply, needs to become more well-known within the Democratic Party – something Clinton, having spent decades in the public eye, doesn't struggle with.
On Saturday night, Sanders will have another chance to do just that.
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