Bernie Sanders, with a Huge Lead with Young Voters, Still Up in Latest New Hampshire Polls

   

Despite winning the New Hampshire primary against Barack Obama in 2008, Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has had a hard time overtaking the anti-establishment Bernie Sanders in his neighboring state. Buoyed by huge leads with young voters and independents, Senator Sanders is up by 20% in the NBC/WSJ/Marist poll and 31% in the CNN/WMUR survey just ahead of their first head-to-head debate.

In New Hampshire, Senator Sanders is ahead among all age groups and demographics, except for voters age 60 years and over. The Vermont Senator’s lead is based upon his massive support from voters under the age of 45, securing more than 70% of those vote. He also leads the former Secretary of State 57%–38% with voters 45 to 59 while the former First Lady carries voters over age sixty 51% to 44%. This tremendous support among younger New Hampshire voters falls on the heels of Senator Sanders 70% victory over Clinton among Iowa caucus goers under the age of 30. It will be interesting to see just how big the underdog candidate pushes that youth advantage when all votes are counted on Monday.

Younger voters historically have been the least-likely age group to turn out to vote while the oldest voters are the most dependable. Younger voters, who disproportionately feel the brunt of the Drug War, are going to continue being drawn to Bernie Sanders’ platform on marijuana legalization and criminal justice reform. While drug policy isn’t the only difference between the candidates, it is certainly an area where there is a difference between the candidates as Sanders’ position is progressive, while Clinton’s is pragmatic and incremental.

It will be interesting to see whether Hillary Clinton “evolves” a bit to co-opt Bernie’s marijuana position, which would be good policy and good politics. An evolution on cannabis and criminal justice may be a political necessity if Sanders continues to enjoy such big margins with younger voters, and if African-American voters, also disproportionately decimated by the War on Drugs, start trending more towards Senator Sanders.

Featured Photo  Credit: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Anthony Johnson

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.