Political editor says Sanders could benefit from higher number of left-leaning independents

Political editor Sophia Tesfaye on Monday told Hill.TV that there could be more left-leaning independents than is generally believed, which could benefit 2020 hopeful Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign DNC boss says candidates to be involved in debate lottery CEO pay rising twice as fast as worker pay: AP MORE (I-Vt.). 

"The convention narrative that we're told is that [former Vice President Joe] Biden ... could possibly appeal to even disillusioned Trump voters, independent voters," Tesfaye, deputy politics editor for Salon.com, told Jamal Simmons on "What America's Thinking."

"Bernie Sanders and his scary democratic socialist platform hasn't scared away people who self-identify as independents," she continued. "[This] tells me perhaps there's a lot more left-leaning independents than we discuss generally." 

"We discuss independents as though they're more moderate, more conservative, but there's a lot of disillusioned former Democrats out there," she said. 

A new Hill-HarrisX poll found that Sanders led the pack among independent voters, with 21 percent saying they support the Vermont senator.

Nineteen percent of independent respondents said they supported Biden, while 10 percent said they supported former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeButtiegieg backs NFL players' right to protest during anthem: I 'put my life on the line to defend' that Overnight Energy: Democrats ask if EPA chief misled on vehicle emissions | Dem senators want NBC debate focused on climate change | 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan CNN's O'Rourke town hall finishes behind Fox News, MSNBC MORE (D-Texas). 

— Julia Manchester