Bernie Sanders locked in a base of voters — young, Latino and liberal — that was more than enough to propel him to a decisive victory in Saturday’s Nevada caucuses.
The 78-year-old Vermont senator captured majorities, or near-majorities, of Nevada Democratic voters in a crowded field, including voters younger than 45, those who call themselves “very liberal” and Hispanic voters, who make up nearly one-fifth of caucusgoers.
He also won a majority of voters who said they made up their minds six weeks before caucus day, according to entrance polls, signaling a strong base of voters.
The Sanders die-hards came out in force in Nevada, a state where he narrowly lost four years ago to Hillary Clinton, leading him to an easy victory over Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren — and establishing him as the Democratic Party’s frontrunner in the race to take on President Donald Trump this fall.
The profile of Sanders’ core support looked a lot like the voters who pushed him to a win in New Hampshire and a still-unresolved photo finish in Iowa, with one important distinction: Sanders drew the largest share of nonwhite voters in Nevada, who made up only a small part of the electorates in the two previous states.
The entrance polls conducted with voters at they arrived at caucus sites throughout the state — combined with exit interviews of nearly 2,000 people who voted early — showed Sanders winning 57 percent of voters younger than 45 and an astounding 65 percent of those under 30. Those figures are significantly greater than the share of young voters Sanders won in New Hampshire earlier this month.