While Hillary Clinton is widely assumed to have a “millennial problem” in her campaign against Donald Trump — meaning that, while young or “millennial” voters are not overwhelmingly drawn to Trump, their lack of enthusiasm for Clinton has been assumed to be her potential downfall come election day on November 9.
A Washington Post article on Thursday said that only 41 percent of millennial voters say they are sure they’ll vote at all in the presidential election, due to their low opinion of both candidates, while CNN.com reported Friday on “Clinton’s young people problem.”
A Bloomberg News piece on Wednesday sounded a similar note, declaring a “millennial math problem” for Clinton, and warning that Clinton “still has to close the deal with Bernie Sanders holdouts,” that is, the young voters — many of them participating in an election for the first time — who ardently supported Clinton’s Democratic primary opponent, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Sanders has recently appeared with Clinton at campaign rallies, hoping to persuade his disappointed backers to vote for Clinton, and Clinton herself has geared many of her recent speeches and policy proposals toward younger voters.
But four polls issued this week paint a different picture — a picture of strong millennial support for Clinton, especially when weighed against how young voters feel about Trump.
A Gallup poll issued on September 26 did not survey which candidate that millennial voters planned to mark on their ballots. Instead, the Gallup poll asked voters in general, and young voters specifically about a series of issues, asking whether they trust Clinton or Trump to handle those issues as president.
Gallup defined “young voters” as those giving their ages as between 18 and 34 years old.
Of the 17 issues in the poll, ranging from “gun policy” to “the distribution of income and wealth in the U.S.,” the only issue on which the 18 to 34 voters said the trusted Trump more was “government regulation of Wall Street and banks” — even though Trump has repeatedly stated that he plans to “eliminate” or “dismantle” current banking regulations.
With that one exception the Gallup poll showed that millennial voters overwhelmingly prefer Clinton to Trump on key issues.
Public Policy Polling
In a PPP poll released on Thursday, voters in the 18 to 29 age group showed a clear preference for Clinton, with 52 percent saying they would vote for Clinton — compared to only 20 percent, or just one out of five, saying they plan to vote for Trump. When the three “third party” candidates — Libertarian Gary Johnson, the Green Party’s Jill Stein and independent Evan Mcmullen — were removed from the question, Clinton’s lead over Trump among millennials grew even wider.
In the head-to-head matchup, 61 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds said they preferred Clinton, to 27 percent for Trump.
In that same group of young voters, 49 percent said that had a “favorable” impression of Clinton, while only 24 percent thought of Trump in a “favorable” light.
See the full Public Policy Poll results at this link. The link will download a PDF file of the poll results.
Monmouth University Poll
Monmouth University released its latest poll on September 26, the day of the first presidential debate between Clinton and Trump. Considering that Clinton’s performance in the polls has improved overall since what was widely agreed to be her decisive victory in the debate, the numbers in the Monmouth poll could be expected to be on the low side for Clinton.
But the Monmouth Poll shows that, “Clinton leads among millennial voters under 35 years old by 48% to 28%, although a sizable number give their support to Johnson (13%) and Stein (4%).”
See the full Monmouth University poll results at this link.
ABC News/Washington Post Poll
A poll conducted last week, between September 19 and 22, by The Washington Post and ABC News showed Clinton winning a majority of voters in the 18 to 39 age group. In fact, she almost doubles up on Trump in the poll with a 51-27 margin.
View the full results from the ABC News/Washington Post poll at this link.
In 2008, Barack Obama scored 66 percent of voters ages 18 to 29, compared to 32 percent for Republican John McCain. Four years later, running for reelection as president against former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Obama took home 60 percent of the 18-29 vote, while Romney captured 37 percent, according to exit polls.
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