Young Voters Proving Their Wisdom by Overwhelmingly Rejecting Trump

Young voters have taken a lot of flak this year. Their overwhelming support for Bernie Sanders has often been denigrated as the wishful thinking of unrealistic citizens taken in by fantastical promises. White millennials in particular have been accused of widespread racism, sexism and other ills, and it has been suggested in many quarters that young whites are just as conservative in many ways as their older counterparts.

But at least in the battle between Trump and Clinton, there’s no question that younger Americans are making the right choice, as Donald Trump trails not only Clinton, but the Libertarian and Green Party candidates as well among Americans under 30:

The McClatchy poll shows Trump pulling just 1 in 10 votes — 9 percent — among Americans under 30 years old. Hillary Clinton is at 41 percent, while Johnson is at 23 percent and Stein is at 16 percent. Trump is basically tied with “undecided,” which is at 8 percent.

There’s a high margin of error here due to the small sample, but it’s not just the McClatchy poll:

A Fox News poll this week didn’t include Stein, but it showed Trump and Johnson close among voters under 35 — the generally accepted definition of the millennial generation. Trump was at 23 percent, while Johnson was at 19 percent.

In early July, a Pew study that included a larger sample — and larger subsample of voters under 30 — also showed Trump and Johnson virtually tied among teens and 20-somethings.

Yes, these numbers reflect abnormally high numbers for 3rd-party candidates, but not by enormous margins compared to the general population.

Young Americans aren’t buying into Trump’s shtick. They want nothing to do with him. Conservative-leaning young voters are too libertarian for the modern GOP, most of the rest were either with Clinton from the beginning or have already made the switch from Sanders to Clinton. There is a sizable portion of Stein voters that will decrease by election day, but most of them will also be reliable voters for the downballot races and for Democratic presidential candidates in the future as the party inevitably moves to the left on economics to match voters’ actual preferences.

Yes, there are a few aggressively racist and sexist young white men out there–we’ve all encountered the type. But by and large the kids will be all right

David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.