Where the youth stands on the upcoming elections
Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.
Email This Story
This month’s Marquette University Law School poll found that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton holds a five point lead over Republican candidate Donald Trump among college-age voters.
College-age voters can play a pivotal role in this year’s presidential election as 18- to 29-year-olds make up about 21 percent of the nation’s eligible voters, according to the Campus Vote Project.
While Clinton was marked favorable by 40 percent of the poll group, 50 percent found her unfavorable and 10 percent had not heard enough to choose. Of the same age group, 27 percent held a favorable view of Trump, while 68 percent hold an unfavorable one. Five percent had not heard enough.
Clinton is still feeling the effects of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Party’s runner-up candidate. Among registered voters that lean democratic, 48 percent expressed they would prefer Sanders as the nominee, with 43 percent still preferring Clinton.
When presenting the September poll data, Charles Franklin, a professor of law at Marquette and director of the Marquette Law School Poll, did not include specific age groups in his PowerPoint because the youth has not impacted the data substantially enough in this election to single the group out. However, in the primaries, when Sanders was still in the race, he said they included information on young voters because of Sanders’ popularity among them.
“The vote choice is not real strongly related to age group right now. It’s a little bit of a U-shape with Clinton doing a bit better with the young and the old, and a little less well in the middle-age groups,” Franklin said. “By comparison, during the primaries, there was a gigantic effect on the Democratic side, and we did give those numbers then.”
When the youth were asked whether or not they are comfortable with the idea of Clinton being president, 18 percent expressed they are very comfortable, 28 percent somewhat comfortable, 16 percent said somewhat uncomfortable and 38 percent are very uncomfortable.
Despite these numbers, Sam Langheim, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, switched from Sanders to Clinton after Sanders officially endorsed Hillary.
“I was originally a Bernie supporter, and there was a time—and I’m kind of ashamed to admit it—that I was close to being a Bernie or bust,” he said. “I think the stakes are just too high, and I look back on it now, and I think I was definitely sore about it. But you know, politics is politics; she won fair and square. She’s a good candidate.”
When the 18-29 age group was asked if they are comfortable with the idea of Trump being president, nine percent said very comfortable, 17 percent somewhat comfortable, 14 percent somewhat uncomfortable and 56 percent very uncomfortable.
The 18-29 age group was asked if each of the candidates could be described as honest. Twenty-four percent expressed that it does describe Hillary and 73 percent said that it does not. Forty-four percent said it does describe Trump and 54 percent said it does not.
The poll also asked if the following statement described each candidate: “He/she is someone who cares about people like me.” Forty-three percent of the 18-29 age group said it does describe Hillary, and 56 percent said it does not. As for Trump, 32 percent said it does describe him, and 66 percent said it does not.
Nick Truog, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, thinks the candidates care about youth voters because millennials make up a large part of the electorate.
In regards to the Wisconsin Senatorial race, Democratic candidate Russ Feingold leads with a six percent margin over incumbent Republican candidate Ron Johnson in both registered voters and those likely to vote.
The poll found that 38 percent of 18-29 year olds support Feingold and 37 percent support Johnson. Twenty percent of this age group does not know, two percent would vote for neither candidate and three percent would not vote.
The Marquette Law School poll is a monthly poll conducted by Charles Franklin. They interviewed 800 registered voters, and 677 likely voters. The margin of error per registered voter is 4.4 percent and 4.8 percent per likely voter. The interviews are conducted over the phone, half on a landline and the other half on a cell phone.