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Teen Presidential Election Survey

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March 2016

Teens Presidential Election Survey

Introduction

Teens’ views on politics offer some of the best insights into their psyche and perspective. With the upcoming presidential election dominating the news, it is the perfect time to gauge teens’ opinions on the political landscape. Fuse conducted its Teen Presidential Election Survey in March 2016 with a representative sample of the 21 million teens between the ages of 13-17. The survey’s questions followed the format of Gallup, Pew, Quinnipiac and other respected polls. Fuse’s survey has a margin of error of 4%.

 

Only Slightly More Politically Engaged

According to the US Census Bureau in 2010, about 60% of the American voting population voted in the last three Presidential elections. About 66% of teens indicated they would be very likely to vote if able in this year’s election, making them only moderately more politically engaged than the general population.

 

If you were 18 years old or older, how likely would you be to vote for President later this year?

%

Very Likely

%

Somewhat Likely

%

Not Likely At All

Party Affiliation Is Up For Grabs

Party identification for teens occurs at about the same frequency as their older counterparts: 22% Republican and 37% Democrat. According to a Pew 2015 study, about 23% of voting-eligible Americans identify as Republican and about 32% identify as Democrat. While 39% of voting-eligible Americans identify as Independent, only 18% of teens in our study consider themselves Independents. Additionally, 21% are unsure of their party affiliation.

Which political party do you think you will register with?

 

  • Republican 22% 22%
  • Democrat 37% 37%
  • Some Other Political Party 2% 2%
  • Independent (no party affiliation) 18% 18%
  • Not Sure 21% 21%

Gun Violence, Education, and War

According to the most recent Gallup poll, voting age Americans consider the economy/jobs (39%), immigration (10%), and healthcare (6%) to be among our country’s most important problems. Teens, too, list those issues at similar percentages.

But teens are almost seven times more likely to list gun violence, eight times more likely to list war, and three times more likely to list education as among the most important problems.

What do you think is the most important problem facing our country?

  • Economy / Jobs 26% 26%
  • Health Care 6% 6%
  • Immigration 10% 10%
  • Gun Violence 13% 13%
  • War in Other Countries 8% 8%
  • Education 15% 15%
  • Something Else 10% 10%
  • Not Sure 11% 11%

More than half of teens have an unfavorable impression of Clinton and nearly three quarters of teens have an unfavorable opinion of Trump.

Next President Will Be Unpopular With Teens

According to recent RealClear Politics polling, Hillary Clinton (Democrat with the highest delegate counts as of March 2016) has a 53% unfavorable score. Donald Trump (Republican with the highest delegate counts as of March 2016) has a 61% unfavorable score. To give this some context, since the New York Times began their Early Stage [January-June] Favorability Ratings in 1976, no candidate has become president with unfavorable scores above 41%.

The unfavorable scores for both candidates are even worse with teens. More than half of teens have an unfavorable impression of Clinton and nearly three quarters of teens have an unfavorable opinion of Trump.

 

What is your impression of the Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton?

%

Favorable

%

Unfavorable

%

I don't have an opinion or don't know her

What is your impression of the Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump?

%

Favorable

%

Unfavorable

%

I don't have an opinion or don't know him

If Teens Could Vote for a President Today

When the candidates with the highest delegate counts as of March 2016 are considered, teens vote Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a narrow margin. When all the candidates are included in our fictitious teen ballot, the winner is Bernie Sanders.

If the election were held today, who would you vote for?

 

  • Hillary Clinton 17% 17%
  • Donald Trump 14% 14%
  • Bernie Sanders 50% 50%
  • John Kasich 6% 6%
  • Ted Cruz 13% 13%

Teens Expect the Next President To Be Donald Trump

While only 14% of teens surveyed would vote for Donald Trump, 43% expect that he will be elected. Trump’s media savvy and teens’ media consumption are likely the reasons. Earlier this month, the media tracking firm mediaQuant estimated that Trump has earned $1.8 billion in free/earned media across print, broadcast, social, and digital. He receives far more coverage than any other candidate, including twice as much as the second most visible candidate Hillary Clinton.

Regardless of which candidate you would vote for, who do you expect will win the election?

 

  • Bernie Sanders 16% 16%
  • Ted Cruz 4% 4%
  • Hillary Clinton 35% 35%
  • Donald Trump 43% 43%
  • John Kasich 2% 2%

What a Political Poll Can Help Us Learn About Teens

Fuse’s Teen Presidential Election Survey illustrates the following broad insights about teens and the potential impact of their views:

  • Social issues: guns, education, and war are issues that will become greater priorities.
  • Engagement: political engagement could decline with the election of a President who teens view as unfavorable.
  • Independence: teens’ political views are another example of Gen Z continuing to demonstrate a growing independence versus Millennials.

Contact Fuse to learn more.