Two new NBC News-Marist polls of Iowa and New Hampshire found that Bernie Sanders is the only presidential candidate in either party who has a positive approval rating in each state.
Here are the net approval ratings for the top candidates in Iowa:
Rubio -1 (31 percent/32 percent)
Walker -1 (30 percent/31 percent)
Bush -12 (34 percent/46 percent)
Clinton -19 (37/56 percent)
Trump -28 (32 percent/60 percent)
Here are the net approval ratings for the top candidates in New Hampshire:
Bush -5 (40 percent/45 percent)
Walker -6 (28 percent/34 percent)
Rubio -6 (28 percent/34 percent)
Clinton -20 (37 percent/57 percent)
Trump -40 (27 percent/67 percent)
Bernie Sanders is easily the most personally popular candidate in either party. Sanders is benefitting from the fact that no one is attacking him. Clinton is facing daily attacks in the media from Republicans while the issue based Sanders campaign has been resonating with Democratic voters across the country.
Beyond election results, what this poll demonstrates is that Bernie Sanders has a well of personal popularity that resonates beyond the 2016 election. Sanders is building a movement that will last beyond any presidential campaign.
The fact that none of the top candidates beyond Sanders has a positive personal approval rating speaks volumes about the current negative political environment among the electorate. None of the Republicans is the kind of popularity magnet that can carry them to the White House.
Bernie Sanders is the one positive messenger of the 2016 campaign. Approval ratings will change as the campaign moves forward, but Sen. Sanders has built a level of popularity that no other current 2016 candidate can match.