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With Primary Season Underway, Sanders Passes Clinton In Popularity Among Democrats

| by Robert Fowler
Bernie in WaterlooBernie in Waterloo

Democratic Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, has overtaken former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in net favorability among self-identifying Democrats. Data shows that the senator is particularly popular among Democrats under 30.

A Feb. 1 Gallup poll assigns Sanders a +53 net favorability among eligible voters who identify or lean Democratic. Clinton currently has a net favorability rating of +49.

These results are a dramatic reversal since July 2015, when Gallup’s same survey yielded a +29 net favorability for Sanders and +56 for Clinton. In that survey, 52 percent of Democrat respondents said that they either didn’t recognize or were indifferent to Sanders.

Breaking down the survey results, Sanders’ surging popularity can be largely attributed to young, college-educated Democrats.

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Clinton has retained a 13-point advantage over Sanders among women while men prefer him by 8 points. White respondents favor the senator by 17 points while Clinton has a commanding lead among African American and Hispanic Democrats.

The demographic in which Sanders is most popular are respondents aged 18-29, who prefer him over Clinton by 27 points.

Sanders’ strong showing among Millennials was demonstrated in the Feb. 1 Iowa caucus, when he won 84 percent of the vote among Democrats aged 17-29, NBC News reports.

While Clinton ultimately won the Hawkeye State, the results were a virtual tie between her and Sanders.

During a Jan. 25 sit-down with Politico, U.S. President Barack Obama offered his thoughts on why Sanders had emerged as a potential spoiler in the Democratic primary.

“Bernie came in with the luxury of being a complete long shot and just letting loose,” Obama said. “I think Hillary came in with the both privilege — and burden — of being perceived as the front-runner. You’re always looking at the bright shiny object that people haven’t seen before — that’s a disadvantage to her.”

The president added that “the longer you go in the process, the more you’re going to have to pass a series of hurdles that the voters are going to put in front of you.”

During a Feb. 2 campaign event in New Hampshire, former U.S. President Bill Clinton told NBC News that Sanders was resonating among young Democrats because his “the system is rigged” message was “emotionally satisfying.”

Clinton added that this race is not a repeat of the 2008 primary.

“Barack Obama is not Bernie Sanders … [Hillary Clinton] and President Obama had enormous overlap on what they wanted to do and how they wanted to do it.”

Sources: Gallup, NBC News, Politico / Photo Credit: Reuters

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