Although no organization that predictively polls the Democratic Presidential primaries has sampled the question (or its equivalent) “What is the most important reason why you prefer that candidate?” the assumption by political pundits has always been that, regarding Hillary Clinton voters, perhaps the most important reason for their choice of Clinton over Sanders is that she would be a stronger candidate against the Republican nominee in the general election than Bernie Sanders would be.
The widely presumed argument there is that Clinton “has more experience” and is more “mainstream” than Sanders, whom ‘too many people’ consider to be ‘outside the mainstream’ because he is ‘farther left’ than she, who is the more ‘centrist’ of the two Democratic candidates.
By contrast, the exit polls in the individual state primaries consistently do test for “Top Candidate Quality” explaining their vote; and, almost each time, “Honest” and “Cares” are very high for Sanders voters, while “Electability” and “Experience” are overwhelmingly high for Clinton voters. The exit polls are just about as definitive a confirmation as could possibly exist showing that Hillary Clinton is, to a large extent, preferred by her voters because they view her as being far more “electable” than is her opponent (Sanders). She is even more overwhelmingly viewed by them to be more ‘experienced’ than Sanders, and we’ll get to that later in this article.