comscore Poll: Clinton struggles to make inroads with young Americans
Top News

Poll: Clinton struggles to make inroads with young Americans

Honolulu Star-Advertiser logo
Unlimited access to premium stories for as low as $12.95 /mo.
Get It Now

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the African Methodist Episcopal church national convention in Philadelphia on Friday.

WASHINGTON » Hillary Clinton is struggling to make inroads among young Americans who overwhelmingly supported Bernie Sanders during the Democratic presidential primary, a worrisome sign as she tries to reassemble the coalition that twice propelled Barack Obama into the White House.

Opinions of Clinton among young Americans vary by race and ethnicity, according to a new GenForward poll of adults ages 18 to 30. The majority of the nation’s younger blacks and Asian-Americans have a favorable impression of Clinton, but the presumptive Democratic nominee struggles with whites and Hispanics.

Just 26 percent of young whites and 49 percent of Hispanics have a positive opinion of the former secretary of state. Both groups overwhelmingly say she is not trustworthy.

“I just don’t see her being honest and straightforward,” said Alexander Tomas, an 18-year-old Hispanic from Fort Worth, Texas. A recent high school graduate, Tomas supported Sanders in the state’s Democratic primary, but says he’s now undecided about his choice in November’s general election.

GenForward is a survey by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The first-of-its-kind poll pays special attention to the voices of young adults of color, highlighting how race and ethnicity shape the opinions of the country’s most diverse generation.

The survey polled all young adults, not necessarily registered or likely voters, but the findings suggest Clinton may struggle to turn out people 18 to 30 to support her candidacy. While Clinton emerged victorious in her unexpectedly tough primary with Sanders, the contest revealed a stunning weakness with such young voters.

The GenForward poll found that among those who preferred Sanders in the primaries, only half are prepared to say they’ll back Clinton in her general election face-off with presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. About a quarter say they won’t support Clinton, and nearly a quarter say they’re not sure.

Clinton has made moves in recent days to attract some of Sanders’ loyal young supporters, including unveiling a college affordability plan that would make in-state tuition free for families making $125,000 or less per year. Sanders proposed free tuition at public higher education institutions for all, a plan supported by three-quarters of young adults, according to the survey.

Sanders will formally endorse Clinton on Tuesday during a rally in New Hampshire, a step her campaign sees as an important signal to the Vermont senator’s backers.

Clinton spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said the candidate “believes we must do everything we can to make sure that millennial voters have their voice heard in our campaign.” She noted that the campaign recently hired three former Sanders aides to lead an effort to boost outreach to young people.

Young people were an important part of the diverse coalition Obama put together during his two successful White House runs. Exit polls found that Obama carried 66 percent of voters 18-30 years old in the 2008 election and 60 percent during his re-election campaign.

While Obama carried the majority of younger white voters in 2008, his support dipped to 44 percent in 2012. The president had the overwhelming backing of black and Hispanic voters under 30 in both campaigns, mirroring his overall support from both groups.

But the GenForward poll shows weaknesses in Clinton’s support among young Hispanics, who prefer Sanders to Clinton by nearly a 3-to-1 margin. More than 4 in 10 had an unfavorable opinion of Clinton, and they were also more likely to say Clinton is untrustworthy and slightly more likely to say she’s unqualified to be president than young African Americans.

Clinton’s support is strongest among young blacks, half of whom consider her honest and trustworthy and two-thirds of whom say they have a favorable opinion of Clinton. Among young Asians, 55 percent view Clinton at least somewhat favorably.

While Clinton campaign officials acknowledge their candidate’s disconnect with young people, they see the prospect of a Trump presidency as perhaps the best way to motivate those voters in November.

Indeed, the GenForward poll found that Trump’s standing with young people is staggeringly negative. Just 19 percent of young voters have a favorable opinion of the businessman, including 6 percent of African-Americans, 10 percent of Hispanics and 12 percent of Asian-Americans. While Trump performs strongest with young whites, only 27 percent view him favorably.

“I’m very afraid of the potential for his presidency,” said Emily Erickson, a 30-year-old from Minneapolis who is planning to vote for Clinton. Erickson, who is interested in social justice and women’s issues, said Trump is “not thoughtful or willing to be intelligent.”

But Clinton’s campaign may not simply be able to count on young voters seeing her as the lesser of two evils in a race against Trump. Seven in 10 young voters — including majorities of blacks, whites, Asians and Hispanics — say they are unsatisfied with the race between Clinton and Trump and want the option of a third party candidate.

John Davilmar, a 20-year-old from West Palm Beach, Florida, is among those seeking an alternative. Davilmar backed Sanders and is increasingly considering casting his general election vote for Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor and Libertarian Party presidential nominee.

He’s says he’s still open to voting for Clinton, but can’t shake the idea that she’s part of the professional political class he distrusts.

“So far she’s like a lot of politicians,” Davilmar said. “But at least she’s better than what we would get from Trump.”


The poll of 1,965 adults age 18-30 was conducted June 14-27 using a sample drawn from the probability-based GenForward panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. young adult population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

The survey was paid for by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago using grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.


GenForward polls:

Comments (20)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

    • As a young Mandan, I will support her. Is she imperfect? Yes indeed. But Trump terrifies me. He is so anti-Native American. I cannot tolerate that.

      • No one, except yourself, knows who or what you are, but, your willingness to publicly support a proven liar for president tells us a great deal.

        • Doesn’t bother Allie one iota. She stands for Hillary no matter what.
          I never had sex with that women not one time. Maybe two or three or four. I think it’s time to kick all the lawyers out of Washington.

  • Most young Americans have no idea about her past, or her husbands. If they did, they would feel the same way everyone else does; she’s definitely not fit for office.

    • On the contrary, when polled purely against Trump, the same amount of young voters (38%) voted either “someone else” or “not voting” as voting for her. Meaning that 62% of polled young voters (17% Trump, 7% undecided, 38% other/not voting) are aware of her problems.

      What should bother Trumpkins more, is that Trump is downright in the pits with young voters.

      What is truly disturbing is how many “conservatives” are backing someone who has openly attacked the Constitution and Bill of Rights for decades and has no functional conservative beliefs whatsoever. Hillary is more of a Republican than Trump is.

  • hiLIARy is a born Alinskian liar, deceitful, unAmerican who has American Blood on her hands, thief (money, WH property etc.), lust for power human….and that’s her good points.
    Unbelievable that there are old folks who should know better that support this piece of work like…..ah never mind, don’t want to mention names who posts here….they know who they are.

  • None of this matters, and none of the blathering right wing echo chamber folks matter either. Mrs. Clinton is going to win in a historic landslide.

    The goal now is to make the loss so punishing and humiliating to Mr. Trump that he disappears forever from the political stage, and takes his racism and religious bigotry with him. Good riddance to him.

    • Bernie supporters greatly disappointed and will vote for Mr Trump. Loretta Lynch won’t answer to Congress and lying crooked HiLIARy is acting silly again. Woof woof. “Make America Great Again”

        • What happened to the double digit lead you used to brag about.
          I really like the Bernie ads copied and pasted. Hilliary has some bite marks on her sweet okole. I liked Loretta tip toeing through the pig sty today. She threw Comey under the bus and got on. Latest poll from Iowa shows Trump taking the lead 44-42. Hilliary in a landslide my a$$.

      • Sarge, did you see the Bernie attack ads he ran against Hilliary? Trump is running them now. Stroke of genius. Bernie is the attack dog. Woof, Woof.

      • Check Real Clear Politics. They list the polls from
        various sources. Reuters has Sec. Clinton up by 11 pts. All others are single digits. Polls can be very misleading. She took CA with a 12%+ when she wasn’t expected to win by such a large margin. People aren’t always honest when answering pollsters….they want to get back to their social media.

        • Tita, you are right. Just had to point out that the race will not be a landslide. Long way to go. Did you see Trump running Bernie attack ads?

    • None of this matters, and none of the blathering left wing echo chamber folks matter either. Mr. Trump is going to win in a historic landslide.

      The goal now is to make the loss so punishing and humiliating to Mrs. Clinton that she disappears forever from the political stage, and takes her lies, racism, black lives matters and religious bigotry with her. Good riddance to her and Bill.

  • Now tell this taxpayer who’s going to pay for this “free” college education ?? One can promise the people with favorable words….that’s only words. Its like “if you can’t impress them with brilliance…baffle them with BS. All the tasks she was involved in were a flop. Show the truth…all the truth and try to convince this disappointed TAX PAYER !! Also include the monies from foreign governments who banked her foundation.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up