What the ‘Berni Coefficient’ Tells Us About Support for Sanders

Nate Cohn uses the Gini coefficient (a measure of distribution), which he terms the “Berni coefficient,” to measure the turnout for Bernie Sanders. Despite Sanders’ big crowds, that fact is “as convincing as saying the Connecticut economy is booming because the houses in Greenwich are so big and pretty.”

A Berni coefficient of “one would mean that all Sanders’s volunteers were in one congressional district; zero would mean every district had the same amount. By this measure, the Sanders coalition is even more unequal than the wealth in the United States. The Sanders coefficient clocks in at 0.483. It basically resembles the state of Connecticut, the second-most unequal state in the country (New York is No. 1).”

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“The public opinion polls show the problem. While Mr. Sanders is in striking distance of Hillary Rodham Clinton in Oregon and Wisconsin — and a second New Hampshire poll shows him leading — there are vast swaths of the country where Mr. Sanders has little support at all. He’s down by 68 points in Alabama, 78 to 10.”

Sanders “needs to compete outside his strongholds. Whether he’s doing so — not whether he has great crowds — is the real measure of his success, just as the real measure of the economy is the success of the average worker, not the opulence of the 1 percent.”

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