New poll shows Iowa college students overwhelmingly prefer one candidate

  • A new poll shows the Democratic presidential candidate most preferred among Iowa college students.
  • Support for Sanders among college students is nearly double his support among Americans overall.

On Iowa caucus day, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) leads his Democratic presidential primary opponents in virtually every poll. 

But the self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist's support is highest among college students, according to one poll that surveyed Democratic and Democratic-leaning Iowa college students. 

A recently released Chegg-College Pulse poll had support for Sanders at 35 percent among Iowa Democratic and Democratic-leaning college students. The same poll estimated Sanders support among Democratic and Democratic-leaning undergraduate students nationwide to be about 43 percent. 

The Democratic socialist leads all of his Democratic opponents, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, businessman Andrew Yang, and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

[RELATED:  EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Michael Knowles talks impeachment, campus culture, socialism]

The poll showing Sanders' support among college students, specifically those in Iowa, means that his support among college students is nearly double that of his support among voters of all ages. The Real Clear Politics average of polls has Sanders at 24.2 percent. 

The latest USA Today/Suffolk poll showed less support for Sanders than any other major poll, at 19 percent. The Data for Progress/Civiqs and Emerson polls showed the most support for Sanders at 28 percent each. 

These results are perhaps one of the manifestations of prior polling on which Campus Reform has reported, showing that young Americans, generally, are much more accepting of socialism, and even communism, than older generations. A recent YouGov poll found that 70 percent of Millennials said would likely vote for a socialist, while one-third of Millennials said they view communism in a positive light. 

[RELATED: UH OH: Disturbing number of young Americans favor communism, poll finds]

So what exactly is driving college students' appeal to socialism? 

According to Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus, socialism "comes right out of the universities." 

"You see students graduating today and a very high percentage...almost 50 percent of students coming out of universities today believe that socialism is the answer," Marcus told Fox News in 2019. "That's frightening to me because the things that made this country great, that created the wealth of this country, and I mean the wealth of every single person right down the line, the best medical care in the world, the best housing in the world, that's why people want to come here, is because of the system, and that's the free enterprise system."

Campus Reform Editor-in-Chief Cabot Phillips says socialism's appeal to younger Americans stems from the ideology being sold as "compassionate." 

"It has a lot to do with how it's being sold as compassionate," Phillips told Fox News in 2019. "Many young people view these ideas as 'free' everything, not as unrealistic, but as something that's helping people. Sadly, I think that stems from a lack of history and a lack of realization of what socialism has actually done throughout history and also I think it's important to remember that these elements of the far-left Democrat Party, these more socialist elements, are no longer fringe on the left."

[RELATED: Why is socialism so appealing to college students? Campus Reform's Cabot Phillips has a theory. (VIDEO)]

During a recent exclusive interview with Campus Reform, conservative commentator Michael Knowles said the answer to combatting the rise in socialism is by making a "moral argument" against it. 

“We’ve got to stop arguing from utility or maximizing market efficiency. Or saying ‘well under capitalism you get more material stuff. You get more cheap plastic goods. Isn't' that so wonderful'... You have to make a moral argument…[Socialism is] wicked, it’s evil, it is the gospel of envy," Knowles said. 

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Jon Street
Jon Street | Managing Editor

Jon Street is a news editor for Campus Reform. Six years ago, Jon cut his reporting teeth fresh out of college as an intern at Media Research Center's, where he interviewed multiple members of Congress and former presidential candidates. From there, he went on to complete a stint at, where his exclusive, investigative work was picked up or cited by the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox News, National Review, and the Drudge Report, among others. More recently, Jon spent three years as an assistant editor at In his free time, Jon enjoys trying new coffeehouses around the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and traveling back to his home state of Missouri to spend time with his family.

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