Progressive International has goal of organizing the global left to both defeat the right and address the world’s most urgent crises, from climate change to endless war to soaring wealth inequality

“We must take the opportunity to reconceptualize a genuinely progressive global order based on human solidarity.” 
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

For the young, survey suggests, Sanders not too old

Supporters cheer at a campaign rally for 2020 Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in Grand Park on March 23, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Sanders, who is so far the top Democratic candidate in the race, is making the rounds in California which is considered a crucial ‘first five’ primary state by the Sanders campaign. California will hold on early primary on March 3, 2020.(Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

A new national poll of young Democratic voters released Monday shows Sen. Bernie Sanders leading the crowded 2020 field with a double-digit lead over the second most popular candidate, Joe Biden.

According to the survey by the Institute of Politics (IOP) at the Harvard Kennedy School, the U.S. senator from Vermont is preferred by 31 percent of likely Democratic primary voters between the ages of 18 and 29 years old.

While Biden came in second place with 20 percent and Beto O’Rourke of Texas nabbed the third spot with 10 percent, none of the other candidates garnered more than single digits in the poll. After O’Rourke, IOP noted the following support for the remaining candidates:

Sen. Kamala Harris (5%), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (4%), Sen. Cory Booker (3%), Andrew Yang (2%), Mayor Pete Buttigieg (1%), former Sec. Julian Castro (1%), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (1%), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (1%), Gov. Jay Inslee (1%) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (1%). Several other candidates polled at less than one percent at this early stage.

While some  political commentators have noted that Sanders’ age—the candidates is now 77 years old and 79 come election day in 2020—could be a factor in the campaign, the poll suggests that young Democratic voters may not be the ones driving that argument.

“Proving that young voters see more than age, it’s notable that the candidates with the most experience in government service are leading a diverse field at this early stage in the process,” said John Della Volpe, IOP’s director of polling.

“Compared to this point in the last presidential cycle,” he added, “young Democratic voters are more engaged and likely to have an even greater impact in choosing their party’s nominee.”

The IOP poll is part of a series conducted by the group that goes back to the year 2000. Broken down by gender, ethnicity, and level of education, the survey found:


Among young males in the sample who say they will definitely vote in the primary,  Sanders (33%) leads Biden (16%) by 17 points, with O’Rourke at 11 percent, and Harris at 3 percent.  Among young women, Sanders’ lead narrows to 5 points (29% Sanders – 24% Biden), with O’Rourke in third with 9 percent, followed by Harris with 7 percent.


Sen. Sanders leads former Vice President Biden by 11 points among whites (31%-20%), by 19 points among Hispanics (38%-19%), but is in a statistical tie with young African-American voters, trailing by one point (25% Biden – 24% Sanders). There is no statistical difference in support for O’Rourke.


The race is statistically tied among college students with 25 percent supporting Sanders, 23 percent for Biden, and 25 percent who remain undecided. No other candidate receives more than 8 percent of the share.

In contrast, likely Democratic voters who are not enrolled in a four-year college or university and do not have a degree, favor Sanders by 25 points.  The Vermont Senator polls at 41 percent to Biden’s 16 percent. O’Rourkepolls at 12 percent with this cohort, with no one else receiving more than 4 percent.

Over 3,000 people within the age range were surveyed in the poll that was conducted between March 8 and 20, with a margin error for the total sample noted at +/- 2.64 percentage points.


Bernie Sanders has called for an “international progressive front” to combat surging xenophobia and right-wing authoritarianism in the United States, Europe, and Latin America—a rallying cry that has left-wing politicians across the world enthusiastic for the Vermont senator’s 2020 presidential bid.

“Given that he’s gained so much appeal in the United States, I think people in the U.K. and around the world have found that particularly inspiring.”
—Richard Burgon, U.K. Labour Party

“From South America to Europe to the Middle East, leftist leaders are celebrating his candidacy, viewing him as an iconic democratic socialist with the potential to lead a worldwide progressive movement at a time when right-wing populism is on the rise across the map,” Politico‘s Holly Otterbein reported Thursday.

“In Canada, Israel, Germany and Spain, progressive politicians have also hailed the Vermont senator on social media and in interviews,” Otterbein continued, “often speaking favorably of his ‘Medicare for All’ proposal, noninterventionist foreign policy and advocacy for the ‘Green New Deal.'”

As Common Dreams reported last November, DiEM25 and the Sanders Institute—founded by Sanders’ wife Jane O’Meara Sanders—launched the Progressive International with the goal of organizing the global left to both defeat the right and address the world’s most urgent crises, from climate change to endless war to soaring wealth inequality.

“Let me convey a message from all of us in Europe, for all those comrades of yours who are now struggling to reclaim our cities, our world, our environment,” DiEM25 co-founder and former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis declared during the inaugural gathering of the Sanders Institute in Vermont last November. “We need Bernie Sanders to run for president.”

Since Sanders announced his presidential candidacy in February, progressive leaders across the world have echoed Varoufakis, arguing that the Vermont senator is the only U.S. presidential candidate offering a truly global vision for a progressive future.

Niki Ashton, a Canadian member of Parliament, said Sanders “has shifted the conversations both in the U.S. and around the world.”

Richard Burgon, the U.K. Labour Party’s shadow justice secretary, echoed Ashton, telling Politico that the Vermont senator is “very exciting as part of an international movement against neoliberal economic inequality.”

“Given that he’s gained so much appeal in the United States,” Burgon said, “I think people in the U.K. and around the world have found that particularly inspiring.”

After Sanders announced his 2020 presidential bid, Bolivia’s socialist president Evo Morales tweeted:

In an op-ed for the Guardian last September, Sanders argued that the global status quo has “failed to deliver on many of its promises,” giving rise to environmental and economic crises as well as the authoritarian far-right.

“We must take the opportunity to reconceptualize a genuinely progressive global order based on human solidarity,” Sanders wrote, “an order that recognizes that every person on this planet shares a common humanity, that we all want our children to grow up healthy, to have a good education, have decent jobs, drink clean water, breathe clean air and live in peace.”

This global vision, argued Eric Levitz of New York Magazine in a column on Thursday, sets the Vermont senator apart from all other 2020 presidential contenders.

“Sanders has established his commitment to viewing progressive change through an international lens, and his interest in using the powers of the presidency to advance such change on the global level,” Levitz wrote, pointing to the senator’s climate positions and his efforts to end the U.S. role in the Saudi-led assault on Yemen.

Sanders’ commitment to “international leftist solidarity,” argued Levitz, is “a singular asset within the global left—and in an era when the survival of decent civilization likely depends on building a powerful, transnational left-wing movement, that is no small asset.”