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Expand chart
Data: College Reaction; Note: *Kamala Harris dropped out Dec. 3, results have a ±3.1 margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

Over the last two months, Bernie Sanders has overtaken Elizabeth Warren as the top 2020 Democratic candidate among college students, according to a new College Reaction/Axios poll.

The big picture: Warren's recent decline among college students mirrors polling of the general population, but while Pete Buttigieg has been gaining among all voters during that time, Sanders is the one who's gained the most among students.

Between the lines: Warren's descent in national polls followed criticism around how she planned to pay for Medicare for All.

  • But the corresponding spike for Sanders — who wrote the Medicare for All legislation — among college students is a sign that their problems with Warren aren't due to her support for the idea.

By the numbers: Buttigieg was the only other candidate to gain more than 1 point in this poll since October.

  • President Trump ranks second in the poll, behind Sanders and ahead of Warren. But he's the sole Republican alternative, while students who prefer Democrats have divided loyalties. Considered another way, less than one in five college students would vote for the president.

Flashback: In April, Biden led the College Reaction/Axios polling of college students at 18.9%, with Sanders second at 15.1%.

Methodology: The poll was conducted Dec. 2-4 from a representative sample of 1,026 college students with a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.

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.

Go deeper

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.

Why made-for-TV moments matter during the pandemic

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Erin Schaff-Pool, Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.

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