Bernie Sanders has managed to strengthen his support base over the last month, most notably among the millennials.
According to Reuters tracking poll, the Vermont senator now enjoys an astonishing 58 point lead over Hillary Clinton when it comes to voters under the age of 30. And as staggering as that lead is, what is even more remarkable is that Sanders and Clinton were tied among millennials till only a month ago, with each candidate receiving 47 percent support from young voters.
This surge in Bernie Sanders’ lead among young voters will come as a huge concern for Hillary Clinton, even as she tries to step up her reach to millennials by including husband and former President Bill Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton in her public campaigns.
According to a report by Breitbart News, political experts close to the Clinton campaign speculated that young voters would give Clinton an edge at the end of last year, primarily because they would know little about the political scandals that engulfed the Clintons during the 1990s.
Democratic pollster Celinda Lake was just one of those people who believed that Hillary Clinton will easily usurp Bernie Sanders, when she remarked during an interview with National Journal that millennials will have little or no remembrance about Monica Lewinsky.
“Millennials and Gen Xers are actually some of the most supportive of Hillary Clinton,” she had said. “It’s the best of both worlds: While they don’t personally remember the 90s, they have a sense that it was a much better. But they don’t remember the scandals, they don’t care about Monica Lewinsky.”
But, if recent poll results are anything to go by, not only was Celinda Lake wide off the mark in her assessment, it now appears that young voters are increasingly drawn by Bernie Sanders’ issue-based campaign, which has explicitly targeted Wall Street and the big banks as structures of oppression that the Vermont senator wants to dismantle if he gets elected.
Republicans, of course, will be elated to see Hillary Clinton losing out on support among the millennials, but as much leverage as they might want to gain out of Clinton’s rapidly decreasing support among young voters, they will also view Bernie Sanders’ rapidly increasing popularity with much disdain.
Another reason for Sanders’ surge in lead among the millennials could be his direct approach when talking about issues that affect the young population, like dealing with drugs. Only yesterday, during his rally at the University of Iowa, Sanders openly embraced the drug problem, and talked about the government’s need to divert its attention from the now infamous War on Drugs campaign and move towards an inclusive regulation policy on certain drugs, especially marijuana.
Bernie Sanders has, in the past, emphasized his belief that bringing corporate criminals under the scanner is much more important than arresting a generation of people for their involvement with recreational drugs, a message that certainly strikes a chord with the millennials.
The Vermont senator’s views are a breath of fresh air for young people who have, for the most part, seen Republicans either brandish their warrior-swords on drugs at every opportunity they get, or have seen Democrats address the issue only in hushed tones.
Bernie Sanders: Blacks and whites do marijuana at equal rates...— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) January 31, 2016
Guys in crowd: "YEAHHHHH!"
Sanders: "That was not exactly my point."
All of the above factors have undoubtedly helped the younger generation appreciate Bernie Sanders for his direct, issue-based narrative, and that is clearly evident in the staggering lead the senator now enjoys among the millennials.
[Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images]