Monday, September 21, 2020

Youth Vote Enthusiasm Highest Since 2008

A national poll of America’s 18- to 29- year-olds released today by the Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School found significant interest in the upcoming election with the likelihood of turning out to vote at levels not seen since the 2008 presidential election. The poll found 63% of respondents indicated they will “definitely be voting,” compared to 47% during this same time before the 2016 presidential election.

“More than 15 million young Americans have turned 18 since the last presidential election. The Gen-Z generation is facing a once in a lifetime experience of a global pandemic, economic instability, and racial reckoning,” said Mark Gearan, Director, Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School. “Young Americans are seeing first hand how their government impacts their day to day lives and they are ready to make their voice heard in this election.”

Biden expanded on Hillary Clinton's youth vote lead in 2016, in the Harvard Youth Poll, and even on President Obama’s performance in 2008. Among likely voters, 60% support the 2020 Democratic candidate, compared to 27% for Trump this election and 49% for Clinton in 2016. 

The last time likely young voters were this supportive of a candidate was President Obama’s 2008 election, in which our poll found likely voters broke 59% for President Obama and 30% for Senator McCain. Part of this can be attributed to the fact that approximately 19% of likely voters indicated they would vote third party in a four-way horse race in 2016, while only 6% have said the same in 2020.

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