The Iowa caucuses are still months away, but Bernie Sanders has already captured one prize – the readers’ poll for Time’s Person of the Year.
The Democratic presidential candidate who has attracted large crowds to his rallies in 2015 won 10.2 percent of readers’ votes, as they made him their choice for the most influential person of 2015.
Sanders nearly doubled the total of second-place finisher Malala Yousafzai. The 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner received 5.2 percent in voting that ended Sunday at midnight.
Pope Francis, who was Time’s 2013 Person of the Year, was third this year with 3.7 percent, on the heels of his historic first trip to the United States in September. President Barack Obama finished fourth with 3.5 percent and comedian Stephen Colbert came in fifth with 3.1 percent.
“Refugees” placed sixth with 3 percent, as people flee the chaos and violence of Syria and other war zones, leading to Europe’s worst migrant crisis since World War II.
Sanders, 74, is an independent senator from Vermont who calls himself a Democratic socialist and is polling second nationally in the Democratic field behind front-runner Hillary Clinton. His ability to fire up disaffected voters has drawn some comparisons with the Republican front-runner, Donald Trump -- who was 19th in Time’s poll with 1.8 percent.
The magazine will announce its prestigious pick for Person of the Year Wednesday morning on NBC’s “Today” show.
Sanders and Trump are on Time’s shortlist, along with Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, Black Lives Matter activists, Caitlyn Jenner, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.