Sanders got about as many youth votes in Iowa as everyone else combined

My colleagues at CIRCLE are producing a stream of detailed and almost instantaneous analysis of the caucuses and primaries. Keep checking the CIRCLE homepage for the latest.

Here I use CIRCLE’s evidence to illustrate how Sen. Sanders’ dominated the youth vote in the Iowa caucuses. Consider the Democratic and Republican caucuses as one event: the voter first chooses which party to caucus with, and then selects a candidate. By that reasoning, about 50,000 young Iowans (ages 17-29) caucused, and about 58% of them chose the Democratic side. Sanders drew 84% of the Democratic youth, while the Republican youth split their support. As a result, Sanders drew about 49% of all the young caucus-goers put together. Cruz came in second with about 11% of all the youth, followed very closely by Rubio, then Clinton, and then Trump.

Iowa 2016

Sanders got about eight times as many votes as his main opponent on the Democratic side, and about eight times as many as Trump, with whom he is sometimes paired as a supposed enemy of “the establishment.”

That raises such questions as: Can Sen. Sanders do better among older people in other states? Can he perform as well among youth in states where young Democratic voters are far more diverse than they are in Iowa? Can Sec. Clinton narrow the generation gap, and can she get out the youth vote if she wins the nomination? (She only drew about 4,000-5,000 young Iowans on Monday and came in fourth in that age bracket, which ought to ring some alarms.) Finally, where will young Republicans land as their field narrows?

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About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.