Younger voters feeling the ‘Bern,’ but will they come out to vote?

Photo by Phil Roeder Bernie Sanders for President
Photo by Phil Roeder
Bernie Sanders for President


Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has narrowed the lead against former New York Senator Hillary Clinton among likely Democratic voters in New York, however, she still has a double digit lead 52-42 percent, just days before the April 19 primary. This is down from a lead of 55-to-34 percent among registered voters, recorded ion on March 7.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump maintains a huge lead in New York, garnering the support of 50 percent of likely Republican voters, compared to 27 percent for Ohio Governor John Kasich and 17 percent for Texas Senator Ted Cruz, according to a new Siena College poll of likely New York state presidential primary voters released April 13.

In a four-way race in March, Trump led among registered Republicans with 45 percent, followed by Kasich and Marco Rubio at 18 percent and Cruz 11 percent.

Among likely Democratic voters, Sanders has a slightly better favorability rating — 75-to-20 percent — than does Clinton, at 73-to-25 percent. On the Republican side, native son Trump has a 58-to-38 percent favorability rating among likely Republican voters, compared to 57-to-31 percent for Kasich and a negative 40-to-55 percent for Cruz.

“While Clinton continues to hold a double digit lead over Sanders, the Brooklyn-born Sanders has tightened the race in the last month over Clinton, the twice-elected former United States Senator from New York,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “Sanders has widened his lead among voters under 35 to a whopping 52 points, up from 17 points, while Clinton leads among voters over [the age of] 55 by 22 points, although that’s down from a 39-point lead with older voters.

“The younger voters are feeling the ‘Bern’ but the question is will they come out and vote in large numbers, as older voters historically do,” Greenberg added.

In the Siena poll and others released this week, Clinton is showing a commanding lead among minority voters in New York.

“While Clinton maintains a commanding 60-to-31 percent lead among black voters, and extends her lead among Latino voters to 54-to-42 percent, Sanders has made it a neck-and-neck race with white voters,” Greenberg said, noting that Clinton still has a narrow 49-to-46 percent lead, although that lead is down from 52-to-35 percent last month.

Gender and geography may also play a role in who takes New York’s 291 Democratic delegates.

Clinton leads by 18 points with women and Sanders has a tiny two-point lead with men. Clinton leads by 13 points in New York City and 19 points in the downstate suburbs, however, upstate voters give a tiny two-point edge to Sanders.

On the republican side, the Queens-born Trump, who has been making appearances across New York ahead of the April 19 primary, looks poised to take the Empire State.

“Trump looks like he will cruise to victory in his home state, as Cruz did in Texas and Kasich in Ohio. The real question is will he get a majority of Republican votes or simply a very high plurality? Currently, exactly half of likely Republican voters are with the Donald, while Kasich is in sole possession of second place,” Greenberg said. “Trump has a 19-point lead with women and an even larger 27-point lead with men. He leads by 34 points in New York City, 20 points in the downstate suburbs and 23 points upstate.

“Which candidate don’t Republicans want to see leading their ticket? Cruz, says 40 percent of likely voters, compared to 31 percent who say Trump and 25 percent who say Kasich,” Greenberg said.

Though support for Sanders is on the rise in New York, most Democrats polled last week envision Clinton in the White House when asked who they think is most likely to be the next president of the United States, regardless of personal preference.

“More than two-thirds of Democratic primary voters, including 48 percent of Sanders supporters, think Clinton is likely to be the next president, compared to only 12 percent who think Sanders will be the next president and 10 percent who think it will be Trump,” Greenberg said. “Among Republican primary voters, 40 percent think Trump will win the election, while 33 percent think it will be Clinton, with other candidates all in single digits.”

This Siena College Poll was conducted April from 6 to April 11by telephone calls conducted in English to 538 likely Democratic primary voters and 469 likely Republican primary voters. Respondent sampling was initiated by asking for the youngest male in the household. The margin of error is 4.5 percentage points for Democrats and 5.0 percentage points for Republicans.