Millenials: Will They Make or Break Hillary Clinton?

There’s little doubt that millennial Americans (ages 18-29) lean to the left. In fact, a Rock the Vote and USA Today “Millennial Survey” conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs in March shows that 47% of millennial voters identify as Democrats while 25% identify as Republican. And, exit polls from previous elections show that strong support from the millennial generation was critical in helping elect and then re-elect President Barack Obama:

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But, fewer millennial voters in mid-term election years helped Republicans secure the U.S. House in 2010 and the U.S. Senate in 2014:

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So, recent history suggests that Secretary Hillary Clinton is going to need robust support from the millennial generation in order to win the general election this November. But, are millennial voters currently backing her? The jury is out.

Both the Rock the Vote/USA Today survey and exit polls from two recent primaries in competitive swing states shows she’s having real trouble with younger voters within the Democratic primary as Senator Bernie Sanders is winning over the millennial vote by a wide margin.

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According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, or CIRCLE, young voters supported President Obama 60%-37% over Republican opponent Mitt Romney in 2012. Further highlighting the impact millennial voters can have on the general election, in states like Florida and Ohio, Obama lost among 45 and older voters but won the millennial vote and secured the electoral votes in these states.

And, NBC News/WSJ surveys from March 2012 and March 2016 show just how opposite young voters feel about Clinton than they did about Obama at this state of the race in the last election. Clinton currently has a negative rating of 47% among young voters and a positive rating of 33%, while President Obama boasted a 52%-27% positive to negative rating in March 2012.

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Bottom line – if Hillary Clinton is in fact the Democratic nominee for President, she certainly has a lot of work to do to get millennial voters engaged in her campaign.

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