New poll finds young Americans unhappy with both Clinton and Trump

Young minority voters are lining up behind Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, but young white voters are split between the two parties.

Adrees Latif/Reuters
A supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders covers her mouth with a bandana in the colors of the American flag while standing along the perimeter fence of the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Penn., on July 28, 2016.

Young Americans are unhappy with the Democratic and Republican 2016 presidential candidates.

According to a recent poll released by GenForward, only 38 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 have a favorable view of Hillary Clinton, and only 21 percent have a favorable view of Donald Trump. 

And this disconnect goes both ways, say young Americans. More than 65 percent of this electorate says the Republican party doesn’t care about them, and 47 percent feel the same way about the Democratic party.

But the Millennial vote is diverse, says GenForward, an organization that publishes monthly polls on the varying opinions of America’s youngest electorate. 

“Given the importance of race and ethnicity for shaping the diverse perspectives and lived experiences of young people, we believe researchers make a mistake when they present data on young adults in a manner that assumes a monolithic young adult vote,” write the poll’s surveyors.

“We are committed to disaggregating the larger category often labeled Millennials because our previous research has also shown important differences in lived experiences and political attitudes among young people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.” 

For example, the impression that the parties don't care increases among certain demographics polled by GenForward. An even greater majority of African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans say Republicans don’t care about them; while a greater proportion of white voters – 52 percent – feel this way about Democrats. 

But among all races and ethnicities, a lot of the disconnect between young Americans and the Democratic party stems from disgruntled and disappointed supporters of former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) of Vermont. 

Recent polls show 90 percent of former 'Berners' coming around to the idea of supporting Mrs. Clinton in November. But GenForward says less than half of Senator Sanders’ millennial supporters – 43 percent – are willing to make the same allegiance shift.

“The DNC really just shot themselves in the foot repeatedly,” 20-something Caleb Shake-Garfield told The Christian Science Monitor at the recent Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Mr. Shake-Garfield drove 20 hours from Oklahoma to rally for Sanders at the DNC. 

“Because the fact that [Sanders] brought this many young people to come and support him, the DNC should be like, ‘You know what, sorry Hillary, we have someone that people are excited about.’” 

In a Morning Consult poll released at the end of July, Clinton commands the biggest lead among Americans from ages 18 to 29. If the election were held tomorrow, 47 percent of young Americans say they would vote for Hillary and 30 percent say they would vote for Trump.

And the fact that 23 percent of young Americans are unaccounted for in this poll is not an oversight. Almost one-fourth of these voters don’t know how they will vote in November, and the 77 percent who did answer the poll are not necessarily enthusiastic supporters.

“I guess I’ll vote for Hillary. I mean I don’t want Trump,” says Shake-Garfield, begrudgingly. “There should be somebody where I’m like ‘Yes! I’m happy to vote for my candidate.’”

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