HAMDEN, CT -Latest polling shows Vermont Sen. Bernard “Bernie” Sanders with the highest favorability rating of any Presidential candidate in the 2016 run-up.
In a Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll released on Thursday, Sanders received the highest scores for honesty and integrity while also outperforming the candidate coral in caring about voters needs, problems and in sharing voters’ values.
“It’s certainly Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ moment,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll in a release. “The Vermont firebrand leads all potential GOP rivals in raw numbers and raw emotion with the best scores for favorability and several key character traits.”
The poll revealed American voters backed Sanders over Republican candidates by margins of 4 to 10 percentage points in head to head presidential match-ups. The closest Republican contender, contrary to prior polling was Ohio Gov. John Kasich who trailed Sanders 45 – 41 percent.
“The candidate running best against Sanders is Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and he’s in fourth place with 6 percent in the Republican presidential pack, unlikely to make it to the main event,” said Malloy.
Although Sanders’ numbers weren’t termed ideal, the pollster went on to set the surging popularity apart from the pack.
“Sanders has a lackluster 51 percent favorability rating, but that’s better than all the rest. Most of the top candidates have negative scores,” he said.
Democratic rival, Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, trailed or tied leading Republicans in a potential November match-up.
Sanders beat Republican front-runner and New York real estate giant, Donald Trump by six percentage points at 48 percent of the vote to Trump’s 42 percent.
The Vermont senator also toppled his Texan and Florida counterparts, Sen. Ted Cruz and Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush by a 10-point margin.
Sen. Marco Rubio fell to Sanders by six percentage points, with Ohio Gov. John Kasich being edged out at 45 – 41 percent.
Kasich, who polled fourth among Republican candidates was said to have only six percent of his party vote and unlikely to make it to the ballot in November.
Among independent voters, Sanders polled 10 points above Kasich and near 20 points higher than Cruz. The surging Democrat also topped the poll among women.
The most popular candidate among young voters, Sanders took 70 percent or more of voters aged 18 – 34 against Trump and Cruz; and 66 percent against Kasich. Sanders’ lead narrowed among younger voters when up against Bush at 10 points and Rubio at six points.
The independent poll by Quinnipiac University was conducted over a period of five days (Feb. 10 – 15) with 1,342 registered voters surveyed nationwide.
The poll carried a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points.
This article originally appeared on Examiner.com on February 19, 2016.