Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has cobbled together a multiracial coalition of young voters who agree that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's supporters are a "basket of deplorables," but fewer black millennials support Clinton than supported President Barack Obama in 2008, according to a new GenForward survey.
“Overall, the level of youth support for Hillary Clinton looks nearly identical to youth support for Barack Obama in 2012,” said Cathy Cohen, a professor of political science and founder of the Black Youth Project and GenForward survey at the University of Chicago. “However, the coalition of young voters supporting Hillary Clinton is not the same as the coalition that helped elect Barack Obama in 2012.”
This information comes from the October GenForward study, a survey of the Black Youth Project with the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
- Support for Hillary Clinton among young whites has increased in the last month. After being about even with Trump in September, Clinton now has a 35 percent to 21 percent advantage over Trump among all young whites, and a 51 percent to 23 percent edge among likely voters.
- Young African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos and Latinas are more likely to favor Clinton over Trump, though support among Latinos and Latinas continues to lag behind other racial and ethnic minority groups.
- Clinton is receiving support from about the same percentage of young people who voted for Obama in 2012 (60 percent), but Clinton’s coalition includes more white young adults and fewer young people of color than Obama’s coalition four years ago.
- Third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein continue to receive limited support from young people, especially young people of color.
- Majorities of young adults in every racial and ethnic group believe that Clinton’s description of Trump’s supporters as “deplorable” is mostly accurate.
- Although majorities of young people of all races and ethnicities say they are less likely to vote for Trump because of the accusation that he referred to a former Miss Universe as “Miss Piggy,” many Trump supporters say that such accusations will not impact their support.
The majority of black, Latinx and Asian millennials surveyed believe that Clinton will do more to help them get ahead: black, 59 percent; Latinx, 52 percent; and Asian Americans, 49 percent. Conversely, white millennials surveyed are almost evenly split between Clinton and Trump (32 percent for Clinton; 28 percent for Trump), and 31 percent of white millennials say neither will do anything to help them get ahead.
These numbers can be interpreted as white millennials being distrustful of Clinton because of her public positions on systemic racism, i.e., the dismantling of white supremacy and the browning of America, which has pushed white voters to the right. Although white millennials may not exactly want to "make America great again," those surveyed appear to be grappling with electing a candidate who purports not to center whiteness, while still being averse to the blatant racism and sexism exhibited by Trump.
As the Movement for Black Lives continues to grow, these numbers are also in keeping with September's GenForward survey results, which found that the majority of young white voters (66 percent) believe that Black Lives Matter "rhetoric" encourages violence against police, compared with 43 percent of Asian Americans, 42 percent of Latinx Americans and 19 percent of black Americans.
Despite these findings, there has been an 8-percentage-point decrease in support for Trump, from 31 percent in September to 23 percent in October, among likely white voters. The casual political observer may think this drop is directly related to rape and sexual assault allegations against Trump—in addition to the #TrumpTapes—but that apparently is not the case, at least not in this survey. Gender does not appear to play a huge role in the choices of millennial voters, particularly as it pertains to Clinton supporters.
According to the GenForward results:
Within each racial and ethnic group, similar numbers of men and women say they plan to vote for Hillary Clinton. African-American women (61 percent) are slightly more likely to vote for Clinton than African-American men (58 percent). Latinas are similarly slightly more likely to vote for Clinton (47 percent) than Latinos (42 percent). However, Asian-American (54 percent) and white (37 percent) men are slightly more likely to vote for Clinton than Asian-American (50 percent) and white (37 percent) women.
GenForward does not look at gender difference among Trump supporters because the numbers are so low. Among young white likely voters, Trump receives 22 percent support from men and 24 percent support from women. Still, a Republican Women for Hillary organization has formed to stop their party's nominee. A recent ABC poll also finds Republican white women (pdf) jumping the Trump ship:
Clinton leads Trump by 20 percentage points among women, 55-35 percent. She's gained 12 points (and Trump's lost 16) from mid-October among non-college-educated white women, some of whom initially seemed to rally to Trump after disclosure of the videotape.
Clinton has doubled her lead to 32 points, 62-30 percent, among college-educated white women, a group that’s particularly critical of his response to questions about his sexual conduct. (Seventy-six percent disapprove, 67 percent strongly.)
There is no age breakdown of the above statistics.
Of particular note to GenForward researchers, Clinton’s support among young Latinx likely voters dropped by 7 percentage points (to 57 percent) between September and October. September's GenForward results found that "for Latinx-American participants, the primary concerns are terrorism and homeland security, education and immigration."
Though Clinton is not in support of the deportation raids favored by the Obama administration, she has previously spoken of constructing a barrier to secure the Mexican border and sending back children fleeing violence in a destabilized Central America to "send a message" to parents. While Clinton's former positions are no secret, they seem to be carrying more weight as the election enters the home stretch, though still not as much weight as Trump's blatantly xenophobic and sexist views.
According to the survey, 47 percent of African-American, 42 percent of Asian-American and Latinx, and 56 percent of white Trump supporters say that Trump's calling former Miss Universe Alicia Machado "Miss Piggy" makes them less likely to vote for him in the general election. And with support for Trump fading among white voters in the past month, both Clinton's and Obama's popularity has surged.
Though many black and Latinx millennials have been more vocal about their work toward dismantling the current Democrat-Republican political duopoly, the numbers don't reflect that millennials—particularly millennials of color—are casting their votes for a third-party candidate. This seems to be largely due to lack of knowledge about their platforms.
According to the GenForward results:
Knowledge of the third-party candidates is also low across racial and ethnic groups. Seventy-one percent of African Americans, 59 percent of Asian Americans, 67 percent of Latino/as, and 47 percent of whites do not know enough about Gary Johnson to form a favorable or unfavorable opinion. And 70 percent of African Americans, 66 percent of Asian Americans, 72 percent of Latino/as, and 57 percent of whites do not know Jill Stein.
Those are astounding numbers that point straight to the stranglehold that both major parties have on voters' political imagination and decision-making. Not only are third parties not viewed as viable, they are often viewed as spoiler candidates who will do nothing but leech votes from the major-party candidates. Clearly, there needs to be more effective outreach, but this is also evidence of how much money influences the political landscape.
When parties have millions of dollars at their disposal, lobbyists' influence and the rapt attention of mainstream media, the idea that third parties "don't do enough" to attract voters continues to be a recurring theme.
Nov. 8 is right around corner, and according to this survey, Clinton has the millennial vote on lock—not child-lock, but secure enough that she's safe with this demographic on the winding, narrow road to the White House.
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