Hillary Clinton struggles to win over younger women

Published 9:14 am Thursday, February 11, 2016

CONCORD, New Hampshire  — For young women, political revolution is currently trumping the idea of a Madame President.

In New Hampshire, women under the age of 45 overwhelmingly backed Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton, exit polls showed. It’s a problem for the former secretary of state as she tries to build the coalition of voters needed to win the Democratic nomination, and she knows it, saying of young voters as she conceded New Hampshire to Sanders that, “even if they are not supporting me now, I support them.”

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

The numbers are staggering, and not just because Clinton — widely expected to be the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major political party – lost New Hampshire women to a 74-year-old grandfather. Sanders won the votes of 7 out of every 10 women under the age of 45, and nearly 80 percent of women under the age of 30.

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“I think for young women, they clearly identify as feminists, they say they’re feminists, but I think the notion of having a woman president … it doesn’t drive them in the same way, as women who are in the traditional second wave of feminism,” said Debbie Walsh, director for the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

Indeed, young women in New Hampshire said they were more inspired by the Vermont senator’s ambitious policy proposals, including a government-run health care system for all and free public college tuition. Clinton’s more pragmatic ideas and complicated public history are a tough sell.