by Elijah Lutz, Staff Writer
In late April of 2015, in front of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., a little known Vermont Senator announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency in a small press conference. Nobody expected him to even come close to doing well, due to the fact that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had been the presumptive nominee for months now and had led every single poll taken. Another factor that was working against this Senator was his choice to identify himself as a democratic socialist, a moniker that settles poorly with the stomachs of Americans ever since the Red Scare. This man is Sen. Bernie Sanders, and nine months later, he is leading Clinton in numerous polls.
In three recent polls (done by CBS News, Quinnipiac University and the American Research Group) Sanders is shown to have a lead over the Democratic favorite, ranging from one point to four points. While Real Clear Politics still shows Clinton having an average lead of two points over Sanders, this is still a huge development. All of this comes only days before the Iowa Caucuses on Feb. 1.
Looking deeper into the polling data from Quinnipiac University, the rise of Sanders can be more easily explained. Sanders polls significantly higher among male voters, while female voters support Clinton more. It gets even more interesting when looking at age demographics. Among voters 18-44, Sanders leads Clinton by almost three times, garnering close to 80 percent of the support. Those ages 45-64 support Clinton over Sanders just barely, and those 65 and older support Clinton by almost two and a half times as much.
Putting things into perspective, Sanders has done what he set out to do: start a political revolution. Young voters in this country have fallen in love with the straight talking independent Senator, hearing his passionate speeches about income inequality, the corruption of Wall Street and big businesses, and the desperate need for change in our economic lives. One of his campaign mottos is “A Future To Believe In” and it has become quite clear that many young men and women believe in the hopeful message that Sen. Sanders has to say, quoting his integrity and consistency as other factors for their support.
Another factor that has helped Sanders earn so much support is a strong field campaign and ground team. This is a distinct advantage that he holds over both his Democratic challenger, Secretary Clinton and the Republican frontrunner, business magnate Donald Trump. This will help Sanders come Caucus Day, when teams will be able to assist in getting people to the Caucus stations. Many successful campaigns have credited their success to their field work, rather than their media coverage and ad campaigns.
Come Monday, we will all be in for a major ride. Either Clinton could win for the Democrats like what has been predicted for months now, or Sanders could overcome the odds set against him from the get go, and make a historic victory. While Clinton still leads overall in poll averages, recent election results have proven the inconsistency of polling data, and like many political pundits have been saying recently: “Well, anything could happen now.”