Young voters, the demographic long considered Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) bread and butter, are failing to show up to support the socialist senator in droves — a phenomenon that played out on Super Tuesday, according to multiple reports.
Joe Biden (D) completed his sweep of the south on Super Tuesday by locking in delegate-rich Texas in the early hours of Wednesday. Across the board, Biden successfully took Alabama, Arkansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Sanders took Vermont, Utah, Colorado, and California.
Biden’s strong performance followed a flurry of endorsements from high-profile political figures, including his former challengers Pete Buttigieg (D) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
The wave of endorsements, though, was not the only factor in Biden’s victorious night. Young voters generally failed to show up for Sanders, especially in southern states. For example, only seven percent of voters, those 17-29, showed up in Alabama, compared to 14 percent in 2016, according to USA Today:
- In Alabama, only 7% of the voters were in the 17-29 range compared to 14% in 2016. Sanders won six of every 10 of those voters Tuesday compared to four of 10 in 2016.
- In North Carolina, 13% of Tuesday’s electorate were young voters, compared to 16% four years ago. Of those, 57% went for Sanders in 2020 compared to 69% in 2016.
- In South Carolina, young voters made up 11% of the electorate Tuesday compared to 15% in 2016. Sanders won 43% of those voters Tuesday compared to 54% four years ago.
- In Tennessee, 11% of those voters showed up Tuesday versus 15% in 2016. Sanders did better among that group Tuesday winning 65% compared to 61% four years ago.
- In Virginia, young voters comprised 13% of Tuesday’s vote compared to 16% in 2016. Sanders won 57% of those voters Tuesday compared to 69% four years ago.
The Lone Star State also experienced a four percent drop in voters ages 17-29:
— Ryan James Girdusky (@RyanGirdusky) March 4, 2020
NPR also noted the phenomenon, adding that Sanders’ “actual younger-than-30 turnout isn’t quite living up” to expectations:
While Sanders is winning big margins among young voters, they aren’t making up significantly higher shares of the electorate than in past elections.
Before Tuesday, voters younger than 30 were not keeping pace with the overall increase in voter turnout. In fact, young voters’ share of the electorate went down in three of the first four states compared with 2016.
On Tuesday night, not a single state saw an increase in young voters’ share of the electorate, according to exit polls conducted by Edison Research and sponsored by several of the television networks.
Despite that, Sanders is determined to stay in the race and remains confident that he will secure the Democrat nomination.
“But tonight I tell you with absolute confidence, we’re going to win the Democratic nomination,” Sanders told supporters in Vermont Tuesday evening, prompting cheers.
“We are going to defeat Trump because we are putting together an unprecedented grassroots, multigenerational, multiracial movement,” he added:
Despite his optimism, the young, enthusiastic support Sanders has seen at his rallies did not translate to the polls on Tuesday.