state of the youth vote in 2016

CIRCLE has begun to release results from its survey of 1,605 Americans between the ages of 18 and 34. CIRCLE’s headlines are:

  • Most Millennials paying attention to presidential election, but far fewer to congressional elections
  • 30% of Clinton supporters contacted by campaigns, 28% of young Trump supporters contacted, 70% not contacted at all

Contact is important because it gives the recipients information and motivation to vote. These contact rates are disturbing low–and also uneven by region, gender, and party. Young men who live in battleground states have been contacted at nearly twice the rate of young women in “safe” states (38% vs. 20%).

Among likely young voters, Clinton beat Trump by 21 points (49% vs. 28%) in this poll, which was conducted between September 21 and October 3, 2016. USA Today/Rock the Vote released a youth poll yesterday that put the margin at 68%/20%. I’m not sure whether that difference results from methodological choices, such as the way the surveys define likely voters and present third-party candidates; but it is interesting that USA Today/RtV were in the field on October 11-13. The difference could therefore suggest a substantial improvement in Clinton’s margin since September.

The CIRCLE release presents additional information about young people’s attitudes, including this chart that compares the words that Trump supporters and Clinton supporters used to describe their own favored candidate.

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About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.