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Story highlights

Singer Demi Lovato performed at a rally for Hillary Clinton at the University of Iowa

Lovato could help Clinton win over young female voters as Iowa's caucuses approach

Iowa City, Iowa CNN —  

Hillary Clinton turned to a new celebrity surrogate – singer Demi Lovato – on Thursday night in an effort to win over young women in Iowa, a state where Bernie Sanders’ strength depends largely on his ability to turn out the youth vote.

Clinton and Lovato drew a crowd of largely young women to the University of Iowa campus, where Lovato vouched for Clinton. After performing her hit song “Confident,” Lovato said: “I don’t think there’s a woman more confident than Hillary Clinton.”

For Clinton, who spoke for less than five minutes, the jabs from the day’s earlier campaign events at Sanders were gone. The event was all about winning over that chunk of potential supporters in Iowa’s February 1 caucuses – particularly as Sanders leads her by a 51% to 43% margin, according to a new CNN/ORC poll.

RELATED: Clinton unloads on Sanders

Singer Demi Lovato appeared at a campaign event for Hillary Clinton on Thursday in Iowa City, Iowa.
Jae C. Hong/AP
Singer Demi Lovato appeared at a campaign event for Hillary Clinton on Thursday in Iowa City, Iowa.

Clinton’s campaign is worried about a split among female voters. Older women are solidly behind her, but younger women – like younger people in general – are more inclined to support Sanders.

The crowd Thursday night included young women who like Clinton and are excited about the historic nature of her candidacy.

“She’s a really strong woman, and I’m really drawn to that,” said Stephanie Schulz, a 20-year-old University of Iowa student.

Many, though, aren’t quite in her camp just yet.

Emily Arvola, a senior elementary education major from Clinton, Iowa, said she’s “torn between her and Bernie.”

“The fact that she could be first woman president is so cool to me. It would be such a huge step,” she said.

Still: “He is just so passionate and I think the way he talks really just speaks to my age group. He is just so new,” she said of Sanders.

READ: Clinton tries to get the millennials on board

Olivia Miller, a 20-year-old sophomore from Kansas City, Missouri, said she’s leaning toward supporting Clinton and called Sanders “overhyped a little bit because I think that some of the issues he has been talking about are too socialist.”

But, she said, many of her friends are Sanders supporters.

“Bernie is the new guy around, so people are voting for him. Bernie is a fresh face,” Miller said.

Karly Sigmund, a 19-year-old freshman from Altoona, Iowa, said she doesn’t even listen to Lovato – she just wanted to see Clinton – but she’s still leaning toward supporting Sanders.

“I am leaning more towards Bernie but I have never heard anything that Hillary has to say besides the debates,” Sigmund said.

Jennifer Aldrich, a 44-year-old fitness instructor in Iowa City, brought her 16-year-old daughter and her daughter’s friend to see Clinton.

“This is a great opportunity for them to see what could be the first woman president – and Demi Lovato, let’s be real,” she said.

Aldrich said “the fact that she’s a woman and would be the first woman president is obviously appealing.”

“I think she’s a smart lady and I think she has a lot of experience and she could really do a lot of great things for us,” she said.

But, she said, she’s still considering caucusing for Sanders.

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