Millennial Women are Feeling the Bern
With the Iowa caucuses rapidly approaching and the New Hampshire primary not too far behind, recent poll results on both sides of the aisle have become all the rage. The slow but steady rise of support for Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has certainly been a phenomenon to watch as he works on closing the gap between the support for his campaign and the support for Hilary Clinton’s–the other likely option for Democratic presidential nominee. But why has Senator Sanders been rising in the polls? And who has been boosting these numbers? Recent polling shows that it may actually be millennial women who are blowing up Bernie’s ratings, rather than the “Berniebros” that many have assumed were his main supporters.
Hillary is still polling better nationally, but recent numbers suggest that Bernie may not be too far behind, and the support he has been garnering among young voters may be just what he needs to have a shot at the nomination. In a recent USA Today/Rock the Vote Millennial Poll, people between the ages of 18 and 25 were found to show strong support for Bernie Sanders. Men under 35 are supporting Sanders over Clinton by four percentage points, but the real kicker happens to be (you guessed it) millennial women. They favor Sanders by just under 20 points, possibly disappointing their mothers who belong to the baby boomer generation currently mostly in favor of Clinton.
So why are these millennial women so into Sanders? It all comes down to the issues that they care about. The USA Today poll also reported that some of the issues younger voters cared most about were related to gun control, welcoming refugees, fixing police corruption, and getting rid of extreme poverty. These hot button topics that are worrying liberal-minded millennials are the same issues Sanders’ campaign is focusing on: racial justice, living wages, humane immigration politics, and so much more. In addition, some of the issues Sanders is most passionate about are problems directly influencing young women today, such as expanding Planned Parenthood and making college tuition lower or–dare I say it–even free. This young generation of voters is thrilled with his willingness to engage in some of the most prevalent issues in our country and the solutions he proposes to fix them. Fewer young women are buying into the idea that this opportunity for a woman president has to be seized in order to promote the feminist agenda.
Even with the upward trend in Bernie buzz, there’s still a challenging road ahead for his campaign if he wants to win the Democratic nomination. The biggest roadblock is predicted to be a lack of voter turnout amidst Sanders’ most avid supporters, as millennial voter turn out has been particularly weak in the past few years, with an all-time low in the 2014 midterm elections. But, if these voters do show up, Clinton could be in for yet another presidential nomination upset, and everybody running her campaign seemingly knows it. Clinton’s campaign has gone from practically ignoring Sanders’ presence to directly engaging with him in debates and acknowledging him as a serious opponent.
There’s a little under a month until all the polls and predictions will start giving way to actual results and the Democratic Party will start to find out who their presidential nominee will be–all of the candidates need as much help as they can get. At the end of the day, whether it stems from millennial women’s residual dreams of their own shot at being the first female president, or their honest faith in the Bernie Sanders platform, this support could be just what Bernie needs to snatch the nomination right out from under Hillary’s nose.