LA Times

As the Democratic field scrambles into a post-debate configuration, some stars have formed and some have fallen.

Based on the latest installment of the College Reaction Presidential Index, the top three presidential candidates have held, while the next tier has notably shuffled. Below are the essential findings from the latest poll conducted after the first Democratic debates and how they fit into the chase for youth support.

Warren's soaring

Among the biggest swings, Elizabeth Warren has surged 8 points to meet Biden and Sanders in the margin of error. Her platform leaves young people with a lot to sift through, but is driven by a strong progressive motor, which fits students' political palette. If she can overcome the burden of informing the electorate of her vision, her platform could catch fire with young people.

Beto O'Rourke

Beto's appeal was built on shaky foundation. His magnetism charged his success against Ted Cruz, but hasn't converted into momentum for his presidential run. The obvious contrast between Warren and Beto is the contrast in how much policy they've outlined. Where Warren bet on the no-frills, policy-heavy approach, Beto opted for a policy-light approach, which might have given him latitude in a general election, but gives potential supporters little to assess in the way of specific proposals.

Joe Biden

For all the talk of a Biden crash, he seems to be holding the support of college students masterfully. He continues to lead among the student demographic. As the value of name recognition slowly dilutes, Biden's consistency implies that his support is not simply predicated on his last name.

Presidential Support Index (July 1st-4th n=786 respondents):

Biden 16.4% 

Trump 16.3%

Sanders 15.1%

Warren 13.7%

Buttigieg  10.4%

Harris 7.8%

O'Rourke 6.2% 

Yang 4.5%

Booker 1.4%

Castro 1.0%

Gabbard 1.3%

Gillibrand 0.8%

Delaney 0.8%

Klobuchar 0.8%

Ryan 0.6%

Bennet 0.6%

Weld 0.5%

Williamson 0.4%

Hickenlooper 0.4%

Inslee 0.4%

Gravel 0.3%

Bullock 0.1%

de Blasio 0.1%

Moulton 0.1%

Messam 0.0%


Data in this report are generated from a poll conducted between July 1st- July 4th, 2019. A total of 786 panelists responded.The margin of error for the full sample is +/- 3.5 points


College Reaction’s polling is conducted using a demographically-representative panel of college students from around the country. The surveys are administered via college e-mail address to ensure current enrollment in a four-year institution. The target population for the general population sample was students currently enrolled in accredited 4-year institutions in the US.

Respondents in this poll were randomly selected from a ~10,000 respondent database, which aims to mirror the broader college demographic from a racial, geographic and political standpoint. Results are weighted to mirror race and gender statistics of the college demographic as defined by the National Center for Education statistics.

College Reaction sends the survey to the randomly-generated sample of students via email. The email asks the respondent to complete the attached survey. Student typically have 24-48 hours to fill out the given survey.



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