Posted on February 26, 2020

Here’s How Bernie Sanders in 2020 Differs from Bernie Sanders in 2016

Harry Enten, CNN, February 24, 2020

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is the prohibitive frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. It’s not just that he had more people cast a ballot for him in each of the first three contests. It’s how Sanders is doing it compared to his last run in 2016.

Sanders is putting together a multiracial coalition, adding nonwhite voters to his white non-college base.

Four years ago, Sanders’ base of support was white voters. In fact, he basically fought Hillary Clinton to a draw among white voters. The reason he lost was because Clinton beat him among black and Hispanic voters, who make up more than one-third of the Democratic Party in total.

This year, Sanders is doing about the same or even better among nonwhite voters than he is among white voters. In Nevada, he won 29% of white voters. Compared to 2016, he did 22 points better among Hispanic voters there by earning 51% of their support. Even among black voters who he lost by over 50 points to Clinton, Sanders picked up 27% support.

The uptick in support with both groups is worth noting. Hispanic voters are, by themselves, about 15% of the voters in a Democratic primary. {snip}

Sanders’ support among black voters is stunning when you compare it to 2016. Sanders came in with 22% of the vote among black voters in the 2016 Nevada caucuses. That means he increased his vote share among black voters by 5 points in 2020. {snip}


But it’s not just that Sanders is doing better among nonwhites. {snip}

As I noted at the beginning of this cycle, white voters without a college degree make up about a quarter of the electorate. {snip}

Sanders actually did well among whites without a college degree in 2016. He beat Clinton by about 7 points in the states that had an entrance or exit poll. He lost by about that same margin among whites with a college degree.

Sanders won among whites without a college degree in the first three contests. {snip}


Sanders’ coalition is unique compared to Clinton or Barack Obama. Both of them won nonwhites but teamed them with whites with a college degree.

You really have to go back to Bill Clinton in 1992 to find the last Democrat to win a competitive primary with the support of non-college whites and nonwhites.