Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was the most popular candidate among a group of young registered Democrats responding to Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas.
Fusion brought together a dozen 18-to-34-year-olds to react to the CNN debate in real time. Sanders was the clear favorite throughout the debate.
“Bernie was on fire the whole night,” said Chauncey, 24, who told Fusion he went into the debate undecided.
The panel voted 8 to 3 for Sanders against the runner-up Hillary Clinton, with one panelist saying it was a tie between the two.
The panel named immigration as a top issue, and Sanders’ call for an easier citizenship process resonated.
“We have to create a path,” Carlos, from Miami, told Fusion’s Alicia Menendez.
As for Clinton, two women on the panel said it was more important having a good president than a female president.
Eight of the panelists also named gun control as a major concern. That jibes with a Pew survey released in August—before the mass shooting on an Oregon college campus earlier this month—showing that young people, more than any other age group, favor a federal database of gun sales and laws barring people with mental illness from owning guns.
Valerie, 27, said she would love to know that she could own a gun “if and only if I am mentally capable of doing so.”
Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, seemed to win that portion of the debate, according to professional political pollster Frank Luntz:
Hillary Clinton remains well ahead of Sanders nationally in the Democratic primary, according to RealClearPolitics’ poll average, but Sanders has an 8-percentage-point lead in New Hampshire.
Watch the full discussion with the focus group below:
Note: A random list of twelve registered Democrats voters ages 18 to 34 were sourced by Bendixen & Amandi International from all over the Miami area. Prospective respondents were contacted randomly, and a diverse sampling of voters were screened to qualify for this research study.