New Poll: Young People Strongly Support Democrats and Hillary Clinton

April 29th 2015

Laura Donovan

Fifty-five percent of young people want another Democratic president, according to Harvard University Institute of Politics​ survey that collected responses from 3,034 Americans, ages 18-29.

Within the Democratic field, survey respondents overwhelmingly preferred Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, with nearly half saying they'd vote for her in the next election. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren came in second with 11 percent saying they'd back her, and Vice President Joe Biden came in third with 8 percent supporting him. Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders ranked at the bottom of the list of potential Democrat contenders.

Millennials and the election


“[Clinton] seems to have coalesced a broad range of support among young Democratic primary and caucus voters, which stands in marked contrast to the position she was in eight years ago at this time, when she was trailing Barack Obama by double digits on college campuses,” John Della Volpe, the institute’s polling director, told Bloomberg.

The GOP does not yet have a strong contender for the youth vote.

Meanwhile, the GOP has a longer list of possible candidates but no clear front-runner among young voters. The findings show 10 percent of responders would support Dr. Ben Carson as the Republican candidate, with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul coming in second at 8 percent. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee are tied at 7 percent. Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who officially announced his campaign for presidency earlier this month, garnered just 2 percent of support from survey responders. The results could be troubling for Rubio's strategy to run as the GOP's youth candidate, a theme he delivered in his announcement speech.

Where Millennials and Clinton stand on criminal justice.

The poll, which was conducted before the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray, found that almost half of young people don't believe the criminal justice system judges people without racial bias. The poll also shows that few Millennials think the protests over police brutality against Black people have been effective.

"What I think they're asking us through this data is to have a meaningful, non-ideological conversation about this," Della Volpe told Yahoo! News. "Even before the violence in Baltimore, you only had a minority of 18-to-29-year-olds believing the protests would create change."

In wake of the Freddie Gray demonstrations that sent Baltimore into a state of emergency earlier this week, Clinton tweeted condolences to Gray's loved ones:

On Wednesday morning, Clinton delivered a speech at Columbia University about our desperate need to improve the criminal justice system:

“Keeping [low level offenders] behind bars does little to reduce crime but it does a lot to tear apart families and communities,” Clinton said. “It’s time to end the era of mass incarceration. One in every 28 children now has a parent in prison. Think about what that means for those children. When we talk about one and a half million missing African American men, we’re talking about missing husbands, missing fathers, missing brothers. They’re not there to look after their children or bring home a paycheck. And the consequences are profound. Without the mass incarceration that we currently practice, millions fewer people would be living in poverty."

Clinton took to Twitter to share some of these thoughts as well:

What other recent polls have found about Clinton's presidential prospects.

Some of Harvard's findings are similar to the results of a recent Quinnipiac University National poll, which surveyed 1,353 registered voters and found Clinton takes the lead among Democratic candidates. However, the Quinnipiac poll also found Rubio in the lead among Republican candidates and that he'd be serious competition against Clinton.

"The youngest member of the GOP presidential posse moves to the front of the pack to challenge Hillary Clinton whose position in her own party appears rock solid," Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in the poll release. "This is the kind of survey that shoots adrenalin into a campaign. Marco Rubio gets strong enough numbers and favorability ratings to look like a legit threat to Hillary Clinton ... Yes she is a leader, but can she be trusted? [There are] [m]ixed reviews for Hillary Clinton on key character traits​."

Earlier this year, Fusion's Massive Millennial poll found 38 percent of young people surveyed wanted Clinton to be president. Of the left-leaning Millennials surveyed, 57 percent supported her in office.

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