Sanders is a Vermont senator, who is Jewish and self-identifies as a Democratic socialist. He is challenging former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic nomination. Sanders’ polling numbers have exceeded expectations, but he still trails Clinton by a wide margin.
Sanders easily outpaced his rivals in the Time survey, receiving more than 10 per cent of the vote, with the runner-up, Pakistani girls’ education activist Malala Yousafzai, at 5.2 per cent. President Barack Obama, Pope Francis and talk-show host Stephen Colbert rounded out the top five vote-getters. Francis won the honour in 2013.
A presidential candidate has never earned the distinction prior to winning the election. In the poll, Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump each received less than 2 per cent of the vote. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received 1 per cent.
Time will reveal its Person of the Year on Wednesday.