Hillary Clinton could face difficulty winning over young female voters in South Carolina, as her competitor for the nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) continues to enjoy wide support among millennials.
According to a Bloomberg report, young feminists at the University of South Carolina are largely backing Sanders over Clinton, some of them expressing aversion to Clinton’s candidacy despite that she is a woman.
Clinton and Sanders will face off in the Democratic primary in South Carolina on Saturday. Winning over young voters, including women, has been difficult for Clinton in earlier primary contests. In New Hampshire, Sanders received support from 82 percent of women under the age of 30, according to exit polls. He beat Clinton among all voters under 30 years old by an 84-15 percent margin, which reflected a similar result from the Iowa caucus.
Maxine Todd, president of the Feminist Collective at the University of South Carolina and a Clinton supporter, told Bloomberg that she was “very outnumbered” by Sanders enthusiasts at a voter-registration drive last month.
“There was so much Bernie support in the room,” Todd said. Despite her support for Clinton, she acknowledged her opinion that Sanders “is embodying the ideals that a lot of people in this age range and this group care about.”
Other members of the feminist student group spoke more negatively of Clinton at a recent meeting. A junior and self-identified socialist took issue with Clinton’s recent claim that she does not embody the Democratic establishment because she is a woman.
“I really hate that because, yes, it is so important that we have a woman president but that doesn’t mean I want any woman to be a president,” the student said. “To use her vagina to say that that’s somehow what makes her better? To me, that’s not feminism. She’s just reducing herself down to her vagina. That doesn’t sit well with me.”
A freshman argued that Sanders’ policies “will help women more,” which she said was more important than electing a female president.
Young black voters in the state have also expressed concerns about Clinton’s record and an increased openness to Sanders’ candidacy, according to a pair of reports from NPR and Reuters following the Vermont senator’s impressive 22-point win over Clinton in New Hampshire.
A consensus of polls out of South Carolina project that Clinton will win the state by a large margin. Still, the former secretary of state is less popular among younger voters, winning support from 49 percent of likely primary voters under age 45 to Sanders’ 38 percent, according to a Fox News poll released earlier this month.