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Elizabeth Warren leads SDC Straw Poll as student debt plans take center stage at the presidential...

Student Debt Crisis members reported they are optimistic that “every candidate has a plan for addressing student loan debt” and say “student loan forgiveness would change our lives immensely”

Our first straw poll of the 2020 presidential election received over 5,603 responses from students, student loan borrowers, parents, and allies. Responses were collected in less than 48 hours during the two-night Democratic presidential debates. The 2020 election is also the first time ever student loan debt is a top issue in the nationwide discussion.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren leads the first straw poll with the support from 41% of members nationwide, followed by Bernie Sanders with 38%. Warren is also in first place among Student Debt Crisis supporters statewide in the early voting states of New Hampshire (54%), Nevada (37%), and South Carolina (55%). She is also a close second in the state of California (35%).

“Student Debt Crisis supporters are over 1 million strong. They represent a large portion of Democratic voters. We are not surprised to find champions of consumer rights, like Elizabeth Warren, at the top of our straw poll,” said Natalia Abrams, executive director for Student Debt Crisis.
“Our members continue to support a wide range of solutions to the student debt crisis. We will continue to poll our supporters and echo their voices over the next 16 months."

The Democratic presidential candidates have introduced a wide variety of plans that address rising college costs. We agree with the core principles laid out in many of the candidates’ proposals: stopping the $1.5 trillion student debt crisis and making education affordable and accessible to all.

Student Debt Crisis believes that much can be done to address this urgent crisis. Early straw poll results suggest members back candidates with bolder visions that include some forms of student forgiveness and debt-free college.

The straw poll showed a large drop off of support for Joe Biden, whose 8.2% placed him in a distant third. Sen. Kamala Harris (5.3%) and Mayor Pete Buttigieg (3.6%) also ranked in the top five candidates among Student Debt Crisis members nationwide. Secretary Julian Castro (1.3%), Senator Cory Booker (1.1%), and Congressman Beto O’Rourke (1%) followed.

“Student loan debt is a burden that does not discriminate by party, gender, race, or age,” said Student Debt Crisis program director Cody Hounanian. “We applaud democratic candidates for understanding the sense of urgency facing 45 million Americans harmed by student debt. The 2020 presidential candidates have proposed the boldest solutions we have seen yet."

Student Debt Crisis testimonials from members across the country:

"I have $35,000 in student debt and my parents took loans out for my education as well, which is postponing their retirement. Student loan forgiveness would change our lives immensely, for the better."- Mary in California
"We are grandparents who backed up our granddaughter's school loans. She just told us that even though she has been paying for the last 8 years, her loan amount has not gone down!”- Frances in Ohio
"I have a degree in education that left me in $10,000 in student loan debt. I live daily knowing I chose the right profession but perhaps didn’t make the right choice for my financial future. It’s anxiety people should not have to feel."- Angelica in California
"I am disabled and I live below the poverty level. Despite my children having great grades, they only qualified for enough assistance to pay a small portion of tuition. My son went on to law school and owes over $200,000 in student loans.”-Mary Lynn in New Jersey

Student Debt Crisis is not endorsing a candidate at this time. For more information about the results of the Student Debt Crisis Straw Poll, or to speak with someone from Student Debt Crisis about the 2020 year Presidential election, please contact or


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