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The Wrongologist

Geopolitics, Power and Political Economy

Millennial Women Back Bernie

Today we continue our focus on the demographics of the 2016 presidential elections. We covered American millennials in December, and return to them again because a new USA Today/Ipsos poll finds that a third say they’re likely to vote in the Republican primaries, while 40% say they’re likely to vote in the Democratic primaries; 60% said they are likely to vote in November.

That means that 70% overall say they will vote in the primaries, but 10% fewer say they will vote in the general election. But that may be good news, since only about 50% voted in 2012, the same as in 2008.

The poll was taken just prior to the SOTU. From USA Today:

The top issue by far for millennials is the economy, including concerns about jobs, the minimum wage and paid leave. On that, millennials have the same pocketbook focus as baby boomers and Gen Xers.

An interesting finding was that voters age 18-35 are most likely to support outsider candidates like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump:

Donald Trump easily leads the field among younger Republicans and independents, at 26%, but that is a lower level of support than the billionaire businessman now holds in the overall electorate. He is backed by 34% of GOP voters in the RealClearPolitics average of recent national surveys.

But among Democrats, there’s something of a surprise: (editing and brackets by the Wrongologist)

On the Democratic side, among the overall electorate in national polls, Clinton now leads Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by close to 20 percentage points. But Sanders [in our poll]…has captured the allegiance of younger voters. [He]…is leading Clinton, 46%-35%, among millennial Democrats and independents.

Taking a closer look at the Democratic millennial voter preferences, Sanders’s support breaks young: Among the 18 to 25 year-olds, Sanders has a big lead. Among those 26 to 34, Clinton has a small edge.

There are gender gaps. We know from other polls that Clinton leads among baby boomer women. In this poll, men under 35 support Sanders by 4 percentage points. But, millennial women back Sanders by almost 20 points. The possibility of electing the first female president apparently has less persuasive power among younger women than their mothers’ generation.

A big question is whether or not Democratic millennials will show up to vote for the party’s nominee in the general election, if Hillary Clinton is the nominee.

Other findings:

• By 80%-10%, those surveyed say the US should transition to mostly clean or renewable energy by 2030.
• By 82%-12%, millennials support background checks for all gun purchasers, and there was no partisan divide on the issue: 89% of millennial Democrats and 83% of millennial Republicans support gun background checks.
• By 66%-33%, millennials see police violence against African Americans as a problem, and 75% say the government should require police officers to wear body cameras.
• 47% say the US should commit ground troops to combat ISIS, while 37% disagree. But there is a partisan divide: 69% of Republicans support deploying ground forces; while a plurality of Democrats (45%) oppose the idea.
• 57% say they are optimistic about the future of the US; 34% are pessimistic.

The U.S. Census Bureau says millennials surpassed baby boomers as the largest group in the US voting-age population. Millennials do not peak in the US population until 2036, so they are going to be in charge of our politics for the next 25 years, assuming they turn out to vote.

As the Wrongologist noted in December:

In 2012, young voters were decisive in Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio…Obama won at least 61% of the youth vote in those four states, and if Romney had achieved a 50-50 split, he could have flipped those states…

And been elected president.

(The survey was conducted online by Ipsos in conjunction with Rock the Vote last Monday through Thursday, of 1,141 adults between the ages 18 through 34. The credibility interval, akin to a margin of error, is plus or minus 3.5 %.)

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