BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Is Bernie Sanders getting unfair treatment from the national media? As the Vermont senator starts an important campaign swing through New Hampshire, his presidential campaign staff is making that claim. They call it the "Bernie Write-off."
During the last presidential race, the Sanders campaign complained of what they called the "Bernie Blackout," a period in the summer and fall of 2015 where they felt the media stopped paying attention to Sanders to the benefit of Hillary Clinton.
Now, his campaign suggests reporters are only interested in stories that show Sanders is in decline and they say that narrative is completely off target.
Sanders spent the weekend at rallies in Iowa, the early caucus state, and now heads to New Hampshire, the first primary state. It's his first trip to the Granite State in more than a month and it includes stops in the North Country Tuesday.
The latest poll of New Hampshire voters has Sanders back in second place behind Joe Biden and ahead of Elizabeth Warren. A month ago, one poll had Sanders as low as fifth place. Sanders campaign staff says the media has been quick to report on numbers that show Sanders falling.
"There seems to be a direct correlation between media coverage of polls and Bernie Sanders' specific standing in those polls. The better the number is in the poll, the less coverage it receives. And the worse he does, the more it receives," said Jeff Weaver, a Sanders campaign adviser.
The Sanders staffers say the poll coverage has prompted numerous stories nationally indicating that Sanders' campaign is in big trouble. And they say it is just the opposite. They say Sanders performed well at the recent Democratic debate and saw a bump in his poll numbers as a result.
Here's where the polls stand now. The latest average compiled by Real Clear Politics shows Joe Biden still on top at 30.8 percent. Warren is second at 18.3 percent and Sanders is third at 16.5 percent. No other Democrats are currently polling in double-digits nationally.
The Sanders camp is also touting other numbers that put him ahead of the pack with a million volunteers, 850,000 individual donors and $27.5 million available to spend. They believe that wide support and the ability to campaign nationwide gives them a big edge.
One big question for Democratic voters is which candidate is best able to defeat President Donald Trump. Sanders' team notes that he has consistently out-polled Trump in head-to-head matchups dating back to the 2016 campaign.
As for the complaint about unfair media coverage, it is true that when Sanders began sliding in the polls in June and July, it did produce a lot of headlines. But on the other hand, when the candidate who started out as the front-runner drops to second, third, fourth, most reporters are going to find that newsworthy.
Sanders will host a town hall at the White Mountain Chalet in Berlin at 9 a.m., followed by an ice cream social at the Littleton Opera House at 1 p.m.