Hillary Clinton pushed to show she can be popular with younger voters after students told her they failed to connect with her.
Speaking at Drake University with Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley, Clinton was told by a young voter that students failed to identify with her — with polls likewise indicating she trails well behind Sanders and her star power isn’t swaying the crucial college set.
Des Moines local Taylor Gipple, who described himself as favouring Sanders told Clinton: “I don’t see the same enthusiasm from younger people for you.
“What I have heard from people my age is that they think you are dishonest.”
Clinton replied in the uncomfortable exchange: “When I worked on healthcare back in ’93 and ’94 — and I don’t know if you were born then, I can’t quite tell — but if you had been around and able to pay attention, I was trying to get us to universal healthcare coverage.”
Clinton has a lot of celebrity friends on her side, like actress Lena Dunham and singers Katy Perry or Demi Lovato, the latter of whom belted out hits at a campaign concert at the University of Iowa.
It’s a play to help the former Secretary of State connect with younger voters. But so far, the star power isn’t swaying the college crowd.
Many say they prefer her 74-year-old rival, Sanders, regardless of whether he has got star power behind him.
“Bernie appeals more to my cool,” said Alex Bare, 19, a University of Iowa student.
“He refuses to take money from super PACs. That’s a really bold move and for me, that makes him cool.”
The push for younger voters comes amid an intensifying battle for the Democratic nomination.
While Clinton and Sanders are locked in a tight race in Iowa, and Clinton has held the lead nationally, Sanders has a clear advantage among younger voters.
A recent Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa poll forecast that Sanders will have 59% of Democratic caucus-goers age 45 and under, compared to the 27% expected to back Clinton.
And in the latest CBS News/New York Times poll Sanders led 60% to 31% among Democratic primary voters under 45.
“He has the hipster vote,” said Erin Kelleher, 26, a graduate student at the University of Iowa.
It’s not that the students were negative about Clinton — they simply like what Sanders has to offer more.
They are packing his rallies by the thousands because they like his push for free tuition at public universities and his long record on liberal issues.
The fight for younger voters harkens back to the 2008 race, when Clinton lost the youth vote to President Barack Obama.
While younger voters tend to be less reliable participants, they can make all the difference in a close race.
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