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Gallup: Hillary’s Supporters Are More Entusiastic Than Bernie’s

Don’t believe your Facebook feed’s pro-Sanders bias.

Bernie Sanders’s fans are often portrayed as hyped-up youngsters infatuated with the Vermonter’s long record of progressive legislation, and his passion for leveling out the economic playing field. In comparison, Clinton voters support the staid “establishment” – despite Clinton’s being a trailblazer in nearly everything she’s done.

Yet according to a recent Gallup poll, 54 percent of Clinton supporters are “very” or “extremely” enthusiastic about her candidacy, while the same is only true of 44 percent of Sanders supporters. While Bernie Sanders does dominate the under-30 vote, notably in Michigan and Iowa, his voters aren’t more excited about him than Clinton’s are about her.

Amanda Marcotte, writing for Alternet, argues that media bias could be clouding the real story:

It’s not hard to see why this false narrative that Sanders inspires more enthusiasm has taken root. He is the challenger running up against the favorite, and it is known that everyone likes an underdog. That, and his surprisingly robust chances against Clinton suggest a rising tide narrative, again not unfairly.

On top of that, most journalists who echo the Sanders enthusiasm narrative spend a lot of time on social media, and if you do that, then it’s safe to say that it looks like Sanders is inspiring a lot of enthusiasm. There is an explosion of memes and chatter about the “revolution” and sharing every single story they can find that says something positive about Sanders’s chances.

It’s not that Hillary doesn’t have her own memes and pop culture moments — they just get lost in the sea of content, and are often drowned out by those who dislike her or her surrogates, whether pop confectionary Katy Perry, feminist punching bag Lena Dunham, or unexpected rabble-rouser Madeleine Albright. There’s plenty of passionate prose about Hillary and how she’s perceived, from sexism to the art of the smile.

On the Republican side, the contest isn’t nearly as close. Although Donald Trump is revolting to millions of future voters, those who love him really love him. John Kasich and Ted Cruz are far more milquetoast to the Republican and Republican-leaning voters Gallup surveyed. Despite Cruz’s reputation as an sharp-toothed constitutionalist, just 39 percent of those surveyed are enthusiastic about him, compared to Trump’s 65 and Kasich’s 33.

Democrats who are “not too” or “not at all” enthusiastic about their preference are nearly evenly split in their indifference to Sanders and Clinton, suggesting that they find the candidates similar, aren’t paying much attention to the race, or simply want some Democrat to make it to the White House in January.

Cruz and Kaisch, by contrast, have much larger groups of supporters “not too” or “not at all” enthusiastic about them — 35 and 51 percent, respectively.

The survey was conducted via cellphone and landline interviews March 21-23 with a random sample of 1,358 registered voters (635 Republicans and independents who lean Republican, and 610 Democrats and those who lean Democratic). Voters were over 18 and lived in all 50 states including the District of Columbia.

Photo: Democratic U.S. presidential candidates Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrive on stage ahead of the start of the PBS NewsHour Democratic presidential candidates debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, February 11, 2016. REUTERS/Darren Hauck

Gloria, Madeleine and We

The last time I stood in front of Gloria Steinem, in the fall of 2012, she spent little time talking to me.

Instead, she trained her laser-focus on the 24-year-old woman next to me. This was my daughter, whose favorite doll in early childhood was a blonde Cabbage Patch girl named Gloria Steinem.

We were in Hartford for a sold-out panel discussion for the Connecticut Forum — featuring Ashley Judd, Michelle Bernard, Gloria and me — on “The State of Women.” When Cait heard that I would be less than two hours from her home in Providence, she considered driving up. When I told her Gloria Steinem was also on the panel, I closed the deal.

What I remember most about that evening was the glow on my daughter’s face as Gloria leaned in and asked her about her life. I couldn’t recount a word of their exchange, but I will never forget the full-circle joy that blurred my vision.

I share this story not to excuse what Gloria said on Bill Maher’s show last week but to explain why I won’t let one clumsy comment diminish who I know her to be.

Maher asked her why so many young women are supporting Bernie Sanders. She has since apologized for this response: “Women get more radical as we get older. Men tend to get more conservative because they gain power as they age, and women get more radical because they lose power as they age. … When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys?’ The boys are with Bernie.”

I understand the angry response of many young women, but when the outrage turns to rancor and declarations of her irrelevance, I bristle. Gloria Steinem has been a steadfast champion of this millennial generation of women, many of whom have likely never said her name aloud before this week. At 81, she has earned our benefit of the doubt.

It didn’t help that, in the same weekend, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright stood next to Hillary Clinton and warned younger women, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” She has said the same thing countless times, often to rapturous cheers, but her timing was off.

At 58, I’m young enough to have found Steinem and Albright inspiring for many years. I even admire their impatience in this presidential year. It is comforting to see a small part of me in my heroes.

How to explain this? I think about that a lot. It’s not that I believe young women have to support Hillary Clinton. I just want them to understand why it’s so personal for many of us who do. We can rattle off all Clinton’s qualifications as the reasons to elect her, and we mean it. But there’s also the woman-ness of it all. Why are we still such a tough sell, even to one another?

In our family, three daughters and a daughter-in-law have careers and young children and a sense of self that triggers a deep longing in me. Sometimes I watch them and wonder, “Who are you?” It is a question of awe, not envy, and a reflection of my own what-ifs. Who might I be now had I been like them in my 20s? It took me so much longer to turn up the dimmer on my own ambition.

Not this generation. Everywhere I go, it seems, I meet young women who leave me breathless. They are teaching and preaching and delivering babies. Once a year, one of them calms my nerves before she walks behind the wall and tells me to hold my breath for the mammogram.

Sometimes, I am at my clumsiest with them, feeing a rush of unearned pride. Who am I, a stranger, to take glory in these young women’s lives? I feel so silly, so full of this song in my heart.

Finally, it seems, I understand how my own mother felt as she watched her daughters leave her behind to navigate a world she had never imagined for herself. Days before she died, she told me she wished she had stuck up for herself more in her marriage.

I braced myself and said, “What would you have done differently, Mom?”

She lifted her weak, manicured hand and pointed to her head. “I would have dyed my hair red,” she said. “And I would have had cats.”

They used to ask for so little, the women in my family.

Maybe that, too, is why I want it all.

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism. She is the author of two books, including “…and His Lovely Wife,” which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. To find out more about Connie Schultz (con.schultz@yahoo.com) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2016 CREATORS.COM

Steinem And Albright’s Comments Supporting Clinton Anger Young Feminists

Hillary Clinton needs young women to maintain her status as the Democrats’ inevitable presidential nominee. And Clinton is the most likely candidate in history to shatter the highest glass ceiling in American political life. But lately, her support among women, especially young women, has shown signs of erosion — and recent comments by two leading feminists in support of her candidacy have created a new obstacle, ironically enough.

During a Friday night appearance on “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Gloria Steinem, an icon of 1960’s second-wave feminism, said of younger feminists: “They’re going to get more activist as they grow older. And when you’re younger, you think: ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie.'”

The following day, Madeleine Albright, one of the country’s best known secretaries of state and the first woman to hold that position, told a crowd at a Clinton rally: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” The crowd didn’t seem troubled by Albright’s remarks, and in response chanted “Madam President” — a common refrain for Albright, who used it against Barack Obama when he was running for the Democratic nomination in 2008.

Across social media, however, young women lambasted the two feminist icons for their comments, painting them as condescending and sexist. Some took issue with Steinem’s initial comment, others with her response to the uproar. Steinem said her comments had been “misinterpreted.” Moumita Ahmed, one of the leaders of the Millennials for Bernie movement, told The Guardian , “Gloria Steinem’s statement was the worst kind of sweeping generalization I’ve heard in years about women my age.”

But hearing those remarks from a feminist icon was even more surprising and hurtful.  “I identify as a feminist,” said Ahmed. “I’m not sure how she could admit us young women are graduating with more debt and earning less money, then say young women are supporting Bernie Sanders to impress all the boys.”

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Steinem responded to the anger, writing, “What I had just said on the same show was the opposite: young women are active, mad as hell about what’s happening to them, graduating in debt, but averaging a million dollars less over their lifetimes to pay it back. Whether they gravitate to Bernie or Hillary, young women are activist and feminist in greater numbers than ever before.”

Albright’s comments provoked similar excoriations. In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, reporter Janell Ross wrote, “The weekend collection of comments about young women and what they ‘ought to do’ in relationship to Hillary Clinton is, no doubt, insulting.” A simple search of Albright on Twitter revealed widespread anger with her comments. She has made comments about the “special place in hell” since at least 2004, during a panel at her and Clinton’s alma mater, Wellesley College. But after Steinem’s appearance on “Real Time,” Albright’s usually uncontroversial comment simply added fuel to the fire.

It is undeniable that today’s feminist movement includes a new generation of millennial activists who have built on the contributions and sacrifice of women like Clinton, Steinem and Albright. But many of these young feminists also focus on  class and socioeconomic issues that they consider as important as gender politics.

Affected by the gender pay gap, at a time where America faces the greatest levels of inequality since the Gilded Age, younger women see Bernie Sanders’ focus on socioeconomic justice taking precedence over electing the country’s first female president. That appears to be why millennial women voted for Sanders by a margin of 6 to 1 in the Iowa caucuses. And in New Hampshire, he leads Clinton by two points overall among women voters.

Meanwhile, Clinton has come out in defense of her friends. On Sunday she said told MSNBC’s “Meet The Press,” “Madeline has been saying this for many, many years. She believes it firmly, in part because she knows what a struggle it has been, and she understands the struggle is not over.” Whether or not that will make a difference to the slim majority of New Hampshire women voters now rooting for Sanders remains to be seen. It is possible that Albright and Steinem may have driven a few more voters in his direction.

Photo: Hillary Clinton takes the stage at a “Get Out the Vote” campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire February 8, 2016.  REUTERS/Brian Snyder