At a recent rally, Bernie sprouted tree branches from his back so he could share apples with all in attendance.
At a recent rally, Bernie sprouted tree branches from his back so he could share apples with all in attendance. a katz /

Poor Bernie Sanders — he's still trailing way behind Hillary Clinton, even though he keeps winning states, and even though a lot more people hold a favorable opinion of him than they do of Hillary. In a perfect world, he'd be running for president of a country where chief executives are selected through a popular vote, like in Panama and Iran and Turkmenistan, where democracy has worked so well.

But oh well.

Even if we don't get the leaders we want, we can at least feel good about having wanted them. A new survey shows that Bernie is by far the most-liked candidate — 48 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of him, with 40 percent holding a favorable opinion of Clinton, and just 26 percent liking Trump. What's more, only 38 percent of Americans say they would never vote for Bernie, while that number is at 51 percent for Clinton and 63 percent for Trump.

Of course, Bernie's popularity with voters alone won't win him the election. But it probably makes him feel nice to know that people like him.

The survey was conducted by the Associated Press, which does not speculate as to the reasons that people might like Bernie better. But perhaps it's because they've come to expect revelations like the one made this week that Clinton has established a handful of shell companies in Delaware to funnel million of dollars in personal assets. The Clintons share a tax-avoiding Wilmington street address with Google, Coca-Cola, Bank of America, and 280,000 other companies in what must be the world's most crowded office park.

And frankly, the only surprising thing about this information is that anyone would be surprised to learn about it — of COURSE the Clintons are taking advantage of tax loopholes, that's just what rich people do. It's legal.

"Some of you may have just heard about these disclosures about outrageous tax havens," said a political reformer last week. "It's also scandalous how much is actually legal. That's why last year, I proposed a plan to shut down the so-called private tax system for the mega-wealthy."

Who was it that said that? Let me just check my notes here ... oops, it was Hillary Clinton. How weird that so many Americans do not have a favorable opinion of her Delaware shell companies!

At any rate, Clinton is racing towards an almost-definite victory at the convention in June. Even though more people have a favorable opinion of Bernie, 2.4 million for people have voted for Clinton, so even if she's not the belle of the ball she at least has that going for her.

And in that same AP survey, over 80 percent of Americans said that Clinton could win the general election. Only 60 percent said that of Bernie. Only a few months left before we find out who's right.