Pollster: Environment, income inequality drive Sanders support among young voters

Pollster Terren Klein says the environment and income inequality are the key issues that are attracting young voters in both Iowa and on a national level to Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats redefine center as theirs collapses Speculation swirls around whether Bloomberg will make Las Vegas debate stage Pelosi: 'I'm not counting Joe Biden out' MORE's (I-Vt.) 2020 Democratic presidential campaign. 

Klein, who is the CEO of polling website College Pulse, noted Tuesday that college students tend to be more ideologically driven, compared to other voting demographics, and vote primarily on issues. 

“When we ask college students what issue is important to them in determining their vote, the number one issue by far is the environment,” Klein told Hill.TV. "In Iowa, it trends roughly the same — it's still the top issue." 

“What we do see is income inequality by far the second-most important issue among Iowa college students,” he added. 

Sanders leads the 2020 field among Democratic and Democratic-leaning students both nationally and in key early voting states like Iowa.

According to the Chegg-College Pulse weekly tracker, Sanders tops the Democratic primary field with support from 41 percent of young voters, which marks a 6-point gain since November.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDemocrats redefine center as theirs collapses Massachusetts Democrats question deployment of Border Patrol teams to sanctuary cities Speculation swirls around whether Bloomberg will make Las Vegas debate stage MORE (D-Mass.) remained in second place at 21 percent among college students, dropping 3 points since November. Former entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangTrump seeks split-screen moments in early primary states More accusers come forward after Evelyn Yang breaks silence on alleged assault by OBGYN Sanders leads Biden in latest Nevada poll MORE ticked up 1 percentage point to 12 percent. 

South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegKlobuchar, Steyer unable to name Mexico's president in pointed interview Democrats redefine center as theirs collapses Speculation swirls around whether Bloomberg will make Las Vegas debate stage MORE and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocrats redefine center as theirs collapses Speculation swirls around whether Bloomberg will make Las Vegas debate stage Pelosi: 'I'm not counting Joe Biden out' MORE each received 8 percent support.

This race is tighter in Iowa, where Warren trails Sanders by 6 percent among college students. A separate Chegg-College Iowa poll released last Tuesday shows Sanders in the No. 1 spot with 35 percent support among the state's college students. Warren follows with 29 percent support.

Buttigieg collected 19 percent support, putting him ahead of Yang's 9 percent. Biden, meanwhile, came in at just 5 percent.

Klein also pushed back against the notion that college students are not politically active. He predicted that they will be key to whoever wins November’s election, noting that they could be a factor in states like Iowa, where he estimates that one in every six Democratic voter is a college student.

“When you’re looking at the sheer quantity, we should give them the respect like we would any other demographic of that size and pay attention to them,” Klein told Hill.TV.

—Tess Bonn