Ladies and Gentlemen, post-caucus results are in, and Hillary Clinton has won the Iowa caucuses, by .3%. I am a Hilary supporter, but I am not going to sugarcoat what this “victory” is. Those results were too close to call. If you’re like me, you were up watching the Huffington Post live caucus updates until 2 in the morning last night, cheering and booing like it was the Superbowl. As the SDE numbers went up and down, and the percentages finally came in we were all shocked by how close it really got. It is not a real victory for either of the candidates because of how close the vote was. Clinton might be waiting for her first victory until late February, considering Sanders’ popularity in New Hampshire.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were so close because their main demographics are so different. The main group “feeling the Bern” is young people, and that definitely showed. The only problem that Senator Sanders encountered was a lack of turnout. Only 18% of Iowa 18-to-29 year olds actually turned out to vote during the caucuses, down 4 points from 2008 when Barack Obama got 22%. 84 percent of the youth vote was in Sanders’ pocket, as opposed to Clinton’s 14%.
It really all came down to groups. As young people, we think that support for one candidate or another is locked in because we only talk about it to younger people. The numbers behind Hillary are much greater than we think, because they are older more consistent voters. Voters above the age of 65 were behind Clinton at a 2 to 1 ratio. Voters who had experienced the Iowa caucuses before were more likely to vote for Hillary. Although young people can be a voting force to be reckoned with, young people did not so quickly turnout to support Bernie as we thought they would. This could be because of disappointment with their voting outcome in 2008, or because they simply did not see it necessary to actually vote since everyone we talk to is “feeling the Bern”.
What did we learn from Iowa? It really all comes out to turnout. If more young people had come out to vote, maybe Bernie would have taken the state. However, since Hillary has such a consistent voting base that if Bernie Sanders’ supporters want him to win they have to turnout. New Hampshire is a good state for him, and he will probably take it, but he needs his voters to come out and actually vote in the more moderate states. All in all, Bernie proved himself as a force in this contest, but young people need to remember, Hillary has been doing this a long time. She has support from a voting pull that cares much more than we do.