Sanders' popularity turns up heat on Clinton

Mrs Hillary Clinton speaking at a primary night event in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Monday with her husband Bill Clinton (right) beside her. The success of the Clinton campaign is dependent on her beating rival Bernie Sanders among women and attra
Mrs Hillary Clinton speaking at a primary night event in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Monday with her husband Bill Clinton (right) beside her. The success of the Clinton campaign is dependent on her beating rival Bernie Sanders among women and attracting large numbers of minority voters.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

MANCHESTER (United States) • For the Democrats, Mr Bernie Sanders' popularity with liberals, young people, and some women and working- class white men has underscored potential vulnerabilities for Mrs Hillary Clinton in the nominating contests ahead.

She is now under enormous pressure to prove that her message can inspire and rally voters after her poor showing in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary.

In a punchy concession speech, Mrs Clinton tried to look beyond New Hampshire and pledged to fight for the needs of black, Hispanic, gay and female voters - members of the coalition that she believes will ultimately win her the nomination.

"Now we take this campaign to the entire country," Mrs Clinton said. "We're going to fight for every vote in every state," she added, continuing, "I know I have some work to do, particularly with young people."

Clinton advisers gritted their teeth on Tuesday night as they dissected exit polls and other data to try to fathom the depth of Mr Clinton's political vulnerabilities.

One troubling sign: Mr Sanders was the choice, nearly unanimously, among voters who said it was most important to have a candidate who is "honest and trustworthy".

Several advisers to Mrs Clinton said they were especially concerned about her shakier-than-expected support among women - the group that provided her margin for victory in the 2008 New Hampshire primary.

The Clinton strategy depends on her beating Mr Sanders among women and attracting large numbers of minority voters, like Hispanics in Nevada and African-Americans in South Carolina, which hold the next Democratic contests later this month.

Both the Sanders and Clinton campaigns have built robust political operations in those next states, but Mr Sanders' advisers say momentum is on their side after the New Hampshire victory and a near-tie in the Iowa caucuses.

Mr Sanders is also hoping that his proposals for a US$15 (S$21) an hour minimum wage and a break-up of big banks will find support in vote-rich Las Vegas and Reno, where many people earn low wages and lost homes to banks after the 2008 financial crisis.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2016, with the headline 'Sanders' popularity turns up heat on Clinton'. Print Edition | Subscribe