Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders went into the Iowa caucuses with strong support from Democrats whose top concern was global warming, but their relatively small numbers weren’t enough to deliver the senator a definitive win in the Hawkeye State.
A Quinnipiac poll released just before Iowans headed to the caucuses Monday showed voters concerned about global warming overwhelmingly supported Sanders over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, 66 percent to 30 percent. Some liberal writers even argued environmentalist voters could be key to a Sanders’ victory in Iowa.
Sanders didn’t win Iowa, but ended up in a virtual tie with Clinton Tuesday morning — each candidate got 50 percent of the vote. Those are some amazing results for Sanders, but it shows environmental alarmism hasn’t been the mobilization tool some thought it would be in the caucuses.
Only a fraction of likely Iowa caucus-going Democrats were concerned about global warming, according to Quinnipiac. Sanders’ biggest support came from young voters who were first-time caucus-goers — of those, 62 percent said they would support Sanders.
Exit polls showed 84 percent of Iowa’s young voters supported Sanders over Clinton — that’s even more than President Barack Obama got in 2008. Those young voters, ages 17 to 29, made up 18 percent of Iowa caucus-goers.
But only 12 percent of young voters, ages 18 to 44, say global warming is their top issue, according to Quinnipiac. The economy (35 percent) and health care (22 percent) were much bigger issues for younger voters, many of whom are saddled with thousands of dollars in college debt and fewer job prospects than previous generations.
Sanders’ anti-corporate economic message and promise of universal health care has resonated much more with young voters who are disenchanted with the status quo and are looking for another fiery politician to support.
“We had no money, we had no name recognition and we were taking on the most powerful political organization in the United States of America,” Sanders said Monday night after the caucus results rolled in. “And tonight while the results are still not known it looks like we are in a virtual tie. And that is why what Iowa has begun tonight is a political revolution.”
Sanders has also called for tuition-free colleges, massive public works projects and more money to Social Security. Sanders has gained notoriety for his unabashed stance against fossil fuels, which he says contributes to global warming.
Sanders has called for the Department of Justice to investigate Exxon Mobil for allegedly misleading the public on global warming science, and the Vermont senator has introduced legislation to impose a carbon tax on America’s energy sector.
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