There is no surer sign that Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) is loved by everyday Americans than the breakdown of his supporters’ demographics. 60% of his support comes from those earning less than $50,000 a year.
The measure of $50,000 is well above the poverty level, but is $10,000 less than the average consumer expenditures in the United States, which makes it fair to call this group the working class. And the working class loves Bernie. This from a new survey conducted by Emerson Polling. While 6% of Sanders’ support comes from those making over $100,000, the lions’ share of his support comes from the average worker.
This isn’t surprising when you consider where the Sanders campaign gets its money. The leading employers of Sanders’ donors are Walmart, Amazon and the U.S. Postal Service. His average donation tends to be around $20. The millions of small donations Sanders brings in come at a time when fewer Americans are considering small-dollar political contributions.
Sanders stands in perfect contrast to South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg. Emerson’s data shows that the majority of Buttigieg’s support comes from Americans with six-figure incomes while only one Buttigieg supporter polled made under $50,000. Buttigieg has run a campaign particularly cozy with Silicon Valley and banks most of his cash from the tech sector.
Buttigieg has also been lobbying party elites for establishment support among the Democratic superdelegates. Though the Democratic party has changed how superdelegates vote, they still wield great power if no candidate secures the needed delegates to win before the convention.
A battle between the working class and the moneyed elite is clear across Emerson’s data. Scoring well across all three categories was rare and no candidate took a higher number of lower-income respondents. Sanders took nearly half of all low-income respondents in Emerson’s sample. No candidate even came close to his performance among respondents making under $50,000.
In a time where Americans can’t afford even relatively inexpensive emergencies or missing a single paycheck, Sanders’ support among this demographic shows who they trust to tackle the economic issues plaguing them.
(Featured image: Nick Solari/Creative Commons)
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.