Johnson, ‘Undecided' gain ground on Trump, Clinton among Millennials

Jenna Lawrence
Campus Reform Intern

  • Young voters are more likely to vote for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump, according to a new poll by Harvard University.
  • Clinton's support has declined considerably since April, though, while Trump has held steady and Johnson has worked to pick up voters disaffected by both major party candidates.
  • Young voters are more likely to vote for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump, according to a new poll by Harvard University.

    The Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard University announced the results of its Summer 2016 Youth Poll in a press release Thursday, revealing that Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by a large margin among likely voters aged 18 to 29.

    “We think it’s important...that political and civic leaders take seriously the voices of the Millennials.”   

    Young voters surveyed between June 21 and July 3 said they would vote for Clinton over Trump by a margin of nearly two-to-one. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson brings up the rear with one supporter for every three of Clinton’s. Even so, both Clinton and Trump are viewed unfavorably by many Millennials, with nearly as many respondents remaining undecided as favor Trump.

    “We think it’s important to the future of our country that political and civic leaders take seriously the voices of the Millennials, many of whom are leading now and will lead in the future,” commented IOP Director Maggie Williams. “They will be responsible for creating the future of politics.”

    Of the 1,001 voters surveyed, 45 percent of those likely to vote said they would vote for Clinton, while only 23 percent said they would vote for Trump, and another 13 percent backed Gary Johnson. Despite the overwhelming lead held by Clinton, fully 19 percent of those surveyed still said they were undecided between Clinton and Trump.

    Even with stronger numbers, Clinton lead has shrunk significantly in a one-on-one matchup with Trump. The IOP’s Spring 2016 poll, released on April 25, shows Clinton beating Trump 61 percent to 25 percent, while the most recent poll shows her with a margin of 45 percent to 23 percent among young voters as more of them switch their preference to undecided.

    CNN notes that voters under 30 have voted predominantly for the Democrat candidate since 1988. As some Millennials slip away from Clinton, however, more seem to be increasingly undecided.

    Interestingly, Bernie Sanders still polls more favorably than Clinton, though the survey was taken before he officially endorsed her presidential bid on Tuesday. Sanders holds a favorability rating of 54 percent compared to Clinton’s 31 percent and Trump’s 18 percent, with Clinton’s rating having dropped 6 points since the April poll.

    The IOP also tracked the enthusiasm of voters, asking them to rank themselves on a scale from “very enthusiastic” to “not at all enthusiastic.” Overall, Trump voters are more likely to show strong support for the future of their candidate, with 36 percent of rating themselves “very enthusiastic,” compared to just 21 percent of Clinton supporters. The numbers even out when “somewhat enthusiastic” supporters are included, which brings Trump’s enthusiasm to 69 percent and Clinton’s to 70 percent.

    Johnson supporters were the least enthusiastic, with just 40 percent describing themselves as “very” or “somewhat” enthusiastic, while the remaining 60 percent were either “not very enthusiastic” or “not at all enthusiastic.”

    Perhaps the most telling result, though, is the large support for a “Washington reset,” which revealed a large number of people who are intensely dissatisfied with politics.

    Among Millennials, more than four out of five want a “significant change” to “the state of politics, government, and Washington, D.C. today.” Only 18 percent said little or nothing should change, while almost half believe that “significant reform is needed” to the political system. Surprisingly, one-third of those polled want “to find a reset button and start again.”

    Clinton supporters, however, were only half as likely to favor a “reset button” than Trump or Johnson voters.

    Among minorities (blacks and Hispanics, in this survey), Clinton is favored by a strong majority over Trump, 63 percent to 2 percent among blacks and 46 percent to 5 percent among Hispanics.

    Both males and females said they would choose Clinton over Trump by slightly smaller margins, though female voters are the most undecided of any demographic, with 37 percent currently in the process of making up their minds.

    Harvard’s Institute of Politics has released 30 Youth Polls since it began the effort in 2000, and uses the surveys to gauge the voting preferences of young voters in the months leading up to presidential National Conventions.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @jelawrence72





    Jenna Lawrence

    Jenna Lawrence

    Campus Reform Intern

    Jenna Lawrence is an intern with Campus Reform. A proud resident of Dallas, Texas, she graduated from Dallas Baptist University after studying English and Political Science and has worked with local and state political campaigns.

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