Feb 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Bernie opens up massive lead among college students

Data: College Reaction; Note: ±3.4 margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: College Reaction; Note: ±3.4 margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

In the last two months, Bernie Sanders has surged 20 points among college students to become the group's clear 2020 favorite, according to a new College Reaction/Axios poll.

Why it matters: The numbers reflect the extent to which young Democratic voters are embracing socialism and rejecting moderate choices.

By the numbers: While his pitch to voters has remained constant, Sanders has continuously gained traction among college students, rising from 15.5% in September to 22.5% in December and now 42.3%.

  • It has been Sanders, not moderate candidates, appearing to win peel-off support as competitors like Andrew Yang, Kamala Harris, Beto O'Rourke and Cory Booker have dropped out of the race.
  • An NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll this week laid bare just how weak support is for moderate candidates among young Democratic voters. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents 45 and under:
  1. Sanders - 54%
  2. Warren - 16%
  3. Bloomberg - 8%
  4. Biden - 6%
  5. Buttigieg, Klobuchar - 5%

Flashback: Recent polling shows that 70% of millennials would vote for a socialist, compared to 36% of baby boomers and 33% of the Silent Generation.

Methodology: The poll was conducted Feb. 17 from a representative sample of 820 college students with a margin of error of +/- 3.4%.

College Reaction’s polling is conducted using a demographically representative panel of college students from around the country. The surveys are administered digitally and use college e-mail addresses as an authentication tool to ensure current enrollment in a four-year institution. The target for the general population sample was students currently enrolled in accredited 4-year institutions in the United States.

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