When he was running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, Vermont Senator and self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders relied heavily on a base of young voters — between the ages of 18 and 29 years old — for the support that allowed him to mount a surprising primary challenge to eventual nominee Hillary Clinton. In fact, according to data cited by The Washington Post, Sanders won more voters in that age group than Clinton and Donald Trump combined in the primaries that year.
But in 2020, according to a new poll cited by The Hill, support for Sanders among young voters is slipping fast. Among candidates in the Democratic field, Sanders enjoyed the support of 45 percent of 18- to 29-year-old voters as of March this year.
But in the new poll by research firm Morning Consult, released on Tuesday, only 33 percent of young voters said they now back Sanders in the Democratic primary — a stunning drop of 12 percentage points. That means more than one of every four young voters who supported Sanders in March have changed their minds about him in the previous two months, according to the Morning Consult data.
At the same time, former Vice President Joe Biden — who leads second-place Sanders by a daunting 23.5 points in the Real Clear Politics average of all polls — has seen a boost in his young voter support.
According to the Morning Consult survey, Biden had previously held 20 percent support among young voters, but that number is now at 24 percent. Biden also leads Sanders by considerable margins among every other age group in the poll, and among the oldest voters — those over the age of 65 — the race is no contest. Biden leads Sanders by 43 points among those older voters.
But there is one group where Sanders remains highly competitive with Biden — social media users. Specifically, users of the social media apps Snapchat and Instagram. As Salon reported, while Biden leads among both Snapchat and Instagram users, Sanders had 29 percent support on Snapchat, to 30 percent for Biden.
On Instagram, Biden has 33 percent support, to 25 for Sanders. Biden’s margins are more significant among Twitter users — 12 points, 32-20 — and on Facebook, where Biden garners 40 percent support, doubling up on Sanders, with 20.
The poll also surveyed viewers of the three major cable news networks, as Business Insider reported, revealing that Sanders receives his highest level of support from viewers of the right-wing Fox News network, with 22 percent of Fox viewers saying they back the 77-year-old Vermont Senator.
Among viewers of the more liberal-leaning MSNBC network, Sanders grabs only 13 percent support, while 16 percent of CNN viewers back him. But Biden leads on Fox, MSNBC, and CNN by wide margins, with 42, 44, and 43 percent respectively.