Sen. Bernie Sanders saw incredible success in the kickoff to the presidential campaign at the Iowa Caucuses on Monday, virtually tying with Hillary Clinton. Even though he has had youth support throughout his campaign, some may be surprised by Sanders’ success. Just a few months ago Sanders was not considered a frontrunner and young people have a tendency to get caught up in the commotion and excitement of presidential campaigns—and not show up when it counts. But Bernie supporters and young people in general showed up in Iowa on Monday—and they made it count. His triumph in Iowa, as well as his popularity with young voters, could realistically mean a win in New Hampshire.
Of the more than 21,000 estimated young people who caucused for Democrats in Iowa, 84 percent supported Sanders. This is more than even Barack Obama garnered in 2008, when he won support from 57 percent from the under 30 age group. When looking at the overall turnout of the under 30 crowd this year, about 11 percent of eligible Iowans under 30 participated in the caucuses, making it the second time since 1996 that youth turnout has exceeded four percent.
With his success in Iowa, it is not difficult to imagine another win in New Hampshire. Especially since New Hampshire has a better record of having young people show up, millennials make up a third of the voting electorate in the state and caucus procedures in New Hampshire are more flexible—while in Iowa people have to show up and defend their choices, voters in New Hampshire can choose to vote within a window of time.
And although Obama suffered an unexpected loss in New Hampshire to Clinton in 2008, Sanders could very well have participants of the upcoming caucus feeling the Bern.
—Melissa Lin, Editor in Chief