By Dave Andrusko
In every presidential election, candidates fare poorly among certain groups. Donald Trump has virtually no support among African Americans and Hillary Clinton is trying desperately to shore up her awful numbers among white males, particularly white males without a college degree.
But then there are groups that, on the surface, ought to be hugely supportive. That’s why this headline from Gallup—“Hillary Clinton’s Continuing Youth Problem”—is so fascinating.
If you forgot for a moment that in a “change election” Clinton is the antithesis of change (not to mention being snared in the private email server scandal), you’d think the following was a typo. Among 18-29 year olds, Clinton has a favorability rating of a dismal 31%.
Frank Newport and Andrew Dugan begin their post with the obvious: Clinton hopes to “replicate” Obama’s success with the coalition that twice elected him president.
But, Clinton’s image with one crucial bloc of the Obama coalition — young Americans aged 18-29 — continues to slide to new lows. This could create real problems for her campaign if it does not change in the weeks ahead.
It’s as bad as it sounds, if not worse. They continue
Gallup tracking over the past month (July 1-27) shows that 31% of 18- to 29-year-old Americans have a favorable view of Clinton, compared with 40% of 30- to 49-year-olds, 41% of 50- to 64-year-olds and 39% of those 65 and older. In other words, Clinton has the least favorable image among young Americans — a flip from where it was one year ago when 47% of 18- to 29-year-olds said they had a favorable image.
Before going any further, note that 41% is the highest favorability rating Clinton gets among any of the age groupings! But back to the youngsters:
Clinton’s popularity problem with young Americans stands out because young people skew Democratic in their political identification and are often disproportionately positive about national Democratic figures.
In case you forgot or (like me) never knew, Obama not only increased the turnout of this group, his overwhelming superiority in 2012 was crucial:
Obama won the youth vote over Mitt Romney by a margin of 67% to 30%. This strong performance was complemented by the higher-than-average turnout of 18- to 29-year-olds in both the 2008 and 2012 elections, providing Obama — according to one independent analysis of the 2012 presidential election — with the edge he needed to win the key swing states of Ohio, Florida and Virginia.
One other point Newport and Dugan made that I almost missed. That 31% is among all 18-19. What about those who self-identify or lean Democratic?
In fact, Clinton’s image with young people who identify or lean Democratic is nearly underwater. Among 18- to 29-year-olds who identify as Democrats, Clinton holds a 48% favorable rating and a 47% unfavorable rating.