Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Five demographic arguments for Bernie Sanders

Clinton began the Democratic primaries with slight-to-significant leads across most demographic categories. Over the past year - even as the media has clung to that narrative - all of those leads have almost entirely evaporated. Here is a quick rundown of the state of the polls today; all of this data was taken from Reuters on March 25.

GENDER

Hillary Clinton's base of support is now largely men, and Sanders is supported by a majority of women.



RACE

Clinton maintains a significant lead among black Americans, driven entirely by the preference of older black Americans; black Millennials, however, prefer Sanders 59-31. Meanwhile, Sanders has built leads among Hispanics and other people of color, while maintaining a slight lead among white Americans.



ORIENTATION

Clinton is the candidate of straight voters. Sanders, by significant percentages, is the clear preference of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and other orientations.



INCOME

Clinton is the candidate of the rich, winning clear majorities with Americans who make $75,000 or more. Both candidates are effectively tied within the margin of error among Americans who make between $50-75k, and Sanders is the candidate of the poor, gaining slim majorities with voters who make $50k or less.




AGE

And finally, the most important demographic divide of this election: age. The story remains the same as it's always been. Sanders is the candidate of the young, winning an enormous majority of all voters under 30; Clinton is the candidate of the old, with support generally increasing as voters get older.



The story here is clear: one can only call Clinton an advocate of the powerless by ignoring women, Hispanics and other non-black voters of color, ~30% of black Americans, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and other non-straights, the young, and the poor. The narrative being aggressively advanced by writers like Tomasky and Goldberg - that Sanders is the candidate of privilege - can only be made by a stunning degree of demographic gerrymandering that ignores the dramatic sea changes in preference that have taken place since the beginning of the campaign.