Following on the heels of a town hall hosted by CNN on Monday, Senator Bernie Sanders drew a crowd of 14,000 in St. Paul, Minnesota Tuesday night. Wednesday, a new Quinnipiac poll shows that the Vermont senator leads Hillary Clinton 49 to 45 percent among likely Iowa caucus participants. Of major concern to the Clinton camp is the fact that 78 percent of voters under 44 support Sanders compared to only 21 percent for Clinton, according to the poll.
The recent surge by Bernie Sanders has taken the Democratic Party establishment and the Clinton campaign by surprise. They totally dismissed Bernie Sanders when he announced. So did the mainstream media, which until very recently completely ignored the Sanders campaign. Even when he drew large crowds in a city, the media hardly mentions it. The poll gives a very clear picture of why Bernie Sanders is scaring the daylights out of the establishment.
Not surprisingly, the poll shows, the wealthier a voter is, the more likely that voter is to support Clinton. Among voters whose annual income is less than $50,000 a year—the lower middle class— Sanders leads Clinton 58 percent to 37 percent. Clinton, however, leads Sanders among voters earning over $100,000 a year 58 percent to 34 percent.
The older a voter, the more likely they are to support Clinton. Among voters over 65, Clinton leads 71 percent to 21 percent. This is the converse of voters under 44 who support Sanders 78 to 21 percent. Voters between 45 and 65 still favor Clinton 53 to 39 percent. This generation gap has not been seen since the late 1960s when young voters split with their parents and grandparents over the Vietnam War. At that time, the older the voter, the more likely they were to send their youth off to fight.
Bernie Sanders has a 31 percent lead among men, leading 63 to 32 percent. Clinton leads among women by 14 points, 54 to 40 percent. The reason Clinton’s lead among women is not larger is that women under 44 support Bernie whereas those over 44 tend to support Clinton. She leads among those with a college degree 52 to 40 percent but Sanders leads among those not fortunate to have a degree by the same numbers.
How voters view the candidates shows up in the poll. Voters believe Sanders shares their values 63 to 34 percent. He is viewed as being more caring than Clinton 68 to 26 percent. Sanders is viewed as being more honest and trustworthy than Clinton by a whopping 76 percent. Only 12 percent see Clinton as honest. When it comes to experience and electability, Clinton wins those categories by large margins. It seems, however, that experience and electability lose out to values.
An interesting message in the poll is how voters feel about the issues. Most voters said that the economy and jobs were their number one issue; health care came in second; climate change third and foreign policy fourth. Sanders wins among people concerned about the economy and jobs. Clinton has a slight edge on health care. Foreign policy is Clinton’s best issue, but is not that important to Iowa voters.
Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in the release “Is this deja vu all over again? Who would have thunk it when the campaign began? Secretary Hillary Clinton struggling to keep up with Sen. Bernie Sanders in the final week before the Iowa caucus.” It must make her think of eight years ago when her failure in Iowa cost her presidency.”
The bottom line is it depends on who shows up. More than other contests, the Iowa caucuses are all about turnout. If the young voters show up Monday and are organized, it will be a good night for Sen. Sanders, Quinnipiac’s Peter Brown said.