The exit polls are in from Super Tuesday, a day in which voters across the country put more stock in Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in their respective parties.
Let’s focus on the Democratic Party, where the Millennial cohort (age 15-34) has shown widespread support for Bernie Sanders over Clinton, while older voters do exactly the opposite. Has anything changed since Iowa and New Hampshire? Is Sanders still the Millennial choice?
Super Tuesday offers a substantial data set on which to make a few conclusions. Nine states held Democratic primaries Tuesday, and the states cover a charitable variety of American values and opinions. We have the northeast (Massachusetts, Vermont), the deep south (Alabama, Georgia), two big ol’ melting pot states (Texas, Virginia), and some wild cards in fly-over territory (Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma). Obviously the West isn’t represented here, so that does allow for a moment of pause. Still, this data is workable.
Did they vote?
First, let’s look at who came out to vote. We’ll focus mainly on the 17-29 cohort (Virginia’s legal age to vote is 17). Approximately 16-17 percent of all voters Tuesday were 17-29 year olds. That’s somewhat in line with Iowa, which showed 18 percent. Among individual states, Texas’ 18-29 year olds were 20 percent of the vote; that’s an encouraging sign, considering Texas is 2.5 times the size of Georgia. On the flip side, only 12 percent of Oklahoma’s voters were 18-29 year olds. Most states established a baseline of 14-15 percent.
As an aside, the 30-44-year-old cohort (some Millennials) was almost universally 22 percent of its state’s voters Tuesday. That’s about accurate.
There wasn’t a ton of data available for sub-cohorts within the 17-29, but if you hear analysts talking about how the 17-24 group voted more often (9-10 percent) than the 25-29 group (7-8 percent), don’t take it seriously. Two things to keep in mind: small samples, and 17-24 is an eight-year swing, while 25-29 is a five-year swing. So yeah.
How they voted
Here is the meat. In Iowa, Sanders beat Clinton in the 17-29 age group by 84-14 percent. Did that percentage hold up on Super Tuesday?
In the 17-29, Sanders took home closer to 60-65 percent of the vote, compared to Clinton’s 35-40 percent. The exceptions: In Vermont, Sanders whooped Clinton 95-5, but of course, that’s Bernie’s home state. And in Oklahoma, Sanders beat Clinton 82-17. As this piece in Slate points out, Sanders’ success in Oklahoma is likely due to its “tweener” status, a wacky outlier state.
But more often Clinton showed a formidable challenge to Sanders in the younger cohort on Tuesday. In Texas she pulled in 40 percent of the 18-29, while Sanders finished with 59 percent.
Meanwhile 30-39 and 30-44 voters all seem to prefer Clinton over Sanders at a tune of 55-60 to 40-45, with Vermont and Oklahoma acting as exceptions. If you remember, Sanders won the 30-39 vote in Iowa at 62-38. No such showing here.
Super Tuesday showed that, in the Democratic field, the voters are now coming into the center with Clinton. As I wrote previously, Sanders could be a major influence on the future of the party. But today, it looks like Clinton will be tasked with bringing it all together. She’d do right to move just a bit to the left, but not too much, as the 45-64 cohort is still the bread-and-butter at 40 percent of the vote.