San­ders’ base grow­ing but nar­row

Women and mi­nori­ties still fa­vor Clin­ton

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY S.A. MILLER

Sen. Bernard San­ders has be­come a force in the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial race this year with a base of sup­port­ers who would look at home on a univer­sity quad — young, wealthy and col­legee­d­u­cated vot­ers — many of them get­ting in­volved in pol­i­tics for the first time in their lives.

His en­thu­si­as­tic fol­low­ing of young peo­ple, col­lege stu­dents and ur­ban pro­fes­sion­als has re­sulted in huge crowds at San­ders cam­paign stops across the coun­try, given him more mo­men­tum than any other Demo­cratic can­di­date and made him the chief ri­val of front-run­ner Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton.

How­ever, the San­ders revo­lu­tion so far has been con­fined to vot­ers who are mostly young, mostly men and mostly white, and has not trans­lated into first-place poll num­bers any­where out­side New Hamp­shire.

The San­ders cam­paign said the move­ment will con­tinue to grow.

Mr. San­ders cut deep into Mrs. Clin­ton’s lead in the pres­i­den­tial prov­ing ground of Iowa, where a Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Pol­i­tics poll re­leased over the week­end showed him just 7 points be­hind, 37 per­cent to 30 per­cent.

“Not only in Iowa, not only in New Hamp­shire, but all over this coun­try we are gen­er­at­ing enor­mous en­thu­si­asm,” Mr. San­ders said Sun­day on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“Peo­ple do not un­der­stand why the mid­dle class of this coun­try is col­laps­ing at the same time as al­most all the new in­come and wealth is go­ing to the top 1 per­cent. Peo­ple do not like the idea that as a re­sult of Cit­i­zens United, our cam­paign fi­nance sys­tem has be­come cor­rupt and politi­cians are de­pen­dent upon su­per PACs and bil­lion­aires for money. Peo­ple want us to deal with cli­mate change [and] make col­lege af­ford­able,” he said.

“Those are the is­sues I have been talk­ing about. Those are the is­sues that are gen­er­at­ing enor­mous en­thu­si­asm from one end of this coun­try to the other,” Mr. San­ders said.

He has surged ahead of Mrs. Clin­ton in two re­cent polls of Demo­cratic vot­ers in New Hamp­shire, where he has at­tracted broader sup­port than any­where else.

Mr. San­ders beat Mrs. Clin­ton 43 per­cent to 35 per­cent in a re­cent sur­vey by Demo­crat-lean­ing Public Pol­icy Polling.

As in other states, Mrs. Clin­ton led 51 per­cent to 34 per­cent among New Hamp­shire’s Demo­cratic se­niors, while Mr. San­ders had a 45 per­cent to 29 per­cent ad­van­tage with the party’s vot­ers younger than 65 in New Hamp­shire.

What helped put Mr. San­ders on top in New Hamp­shire was his abil­ity to erase the gen­der gap, which had been buoy­ing Mrs. Clin­ton against the early surge by the self-de­scribed so­cial­ist, who won elec­tion to the U.S. Se­nate as an in­de­pen­dent but cau­cuses with the cham­ber’s Democrats.

Mr. San­ders led Mrs. Clin­ton with men, 44 per­cent to 30 per­cent, and women, 41 per­cent to 38 per­cent.

A Bos­ton Her­ald poll this month had him ahead 44 per­cent to 37 per­cent in New Hamp­shire.

Carl Soder­strom, Demo­cratic Party chair­man for Concord, New Hamp­shire, said Mr. San­ders has man­aged to bring in “ev­ery­body.”

“It’s a very broad-based thing. There’s young peo­ple, old peo­ple, all kinds of peo­ple are very avid sup­port­ers of Bernie San­ders,” he said. “It’s peo­ple who are dis­il­lu­sioned with the sta­tus quo and feel that Bernie San­ders is an in­de­pen­dent enough can­di­date to ap­peal to them.”

That’s a recipe the San­ders cam­paign is try­ing to repli­cate out­side of New Hamp­shire, where he al­ready has wide­spread name recog­ni­tion and sup­port as the sen­a­tor from neigh­bor­ing Ver­mont.

On the stump, Mr. San­ders pow­er­fully ad­vo­cates for lib­eral poli­cies that in­clude ex­pand­ing So­cial Se­cu­rity, free in-state col­lege tu­ition and crack­ing down on Wall Street. The mes­sage has drawn huge crowds in re­cent weeks: 28,000 in Port­land, Ore­gon, 27,500 in Los An­ge­les, 15,000 in Seat­tle and about 1,800 in Dubuque, Iowa.

In Iowa, the crowds are made up mostly of high school­ers, col­lege stu­dents and peo­ple in the 30s or 40s, said John Colombo, Demo­cratic Party chair­man for Franklin County, Iowa.

“These are the type of peo­ple who were en­thused with the Oc­cupy Wall Street move­ment when that oc­curred,” he said. “They are sick of busi­ness as usual and see Bernie San­ders as an al­ter­na­tive to what they’ve seen in the past.”

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