Among millennials, Sanders continues to be the favorable choice for the Democratic presidential nomination, while Clinton continues to be viewed in a much less favorable light. According to the latest CNN/ORC poll from December 17-21, of those aged 18-35 who were polled, Clinton had a 47 percent favorable, 48 percent unfavorable rating. In the same age group, Sanders was rated much better with 55 percent favorable, 23 percent unfavorable.
This poll could be the result of many things. First, Bernie has reached out on the platform that millennials love: social media. The popular hashtag #FeeltheBern has become a staple for Bernie supporters on Facebook and Twitter. Meanwhile, Hillary’s most recent popular hashtag was #NotMyAbuela — mocking her campaign’s recent attempts to reach out to Hispanic voters.
Millennials are taking note of this social media use. Jason Martin, a 22-year-old customer care representative, pointed out that Sanders, “has harnessed Facebook and Twitter and is being put on blast across the U.S. because of the 18-30 crowd.” Meanwhile, Martin noted, “Clinton is using the typical, pretty grueling traditional approach and is already notorious for being kind of distant, but very smart and very cunning indeed. It’s just kind of boring to me.”
Senator Bernie Sanders has sparked the interest of many, especially in the context of web browsing. According to Google Trends, Sanders was the second most trending politician of 2015, just under Donald Trump. Whereas, Hillary Clinton did not even make the top ten.
Not only does Sanders’ Internet presence resonate with millennials, but the topics that he stands for also seem to reach the left side of this age group.
“More millennials are slightly left of center,” Martin said. “Sanders is Populist and Progressive, and most in the early voting generations understand Democratic Socialism, so it’s not that scary as well.”
Nina Keller, a student at Hollins University, also believes that Sanders’ political stances are in touch with millennials.
“Bernie’s politics speak to young people on many levels,” Keller said. “He doesn’t need to pander to them using pop culture references. Hillary does what she does — release media content to appeal to younger voters, quote the extremely popular tag line of the Star Wars franchise at the end of the last debate, etc.”
Even if Bernie continues to appeal to the millennial generation more than Hillary, the results of the election will be based on who shows up to the polls. A United States Census Bureau analysis on youth voting, found the voting rate of 18-24 year olds increased from 2000 to 2008, and then declined during the 2012 election. In fact, there were 1,846 less youth votes in 2012 than there were in the 2008 election. If this trend continues, it could be bad news for Sanders. However, if Bernie is tapping into a new group of first time voters, there could be a surge in millennial turnout at the polls this year.