Poll: Campaigns Aren't Contacting Younger Voters

Neither presidential campaign is doing a good job of reaching millennials, survery reports

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are struggling to contact young voters in a race where millennials have the numbers to shape the election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Only 30 percent of young people have been contacted by a campaign or political party this election cycle, despite research showing that young people are more likely to vote when contacted.

About two-thirds of millennials said they plan to vote in the upcoming presidential election, according to a poll from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement at Tufts University. But experts say the campaigns are missing out on a critical voting block.

“Millennials can shape our elections and the direction of our democracy," said Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, the center's director. "But if we want young people to invest their time, talent, and enthusiasm in electoral engagement, campaigns and political parties need to reach more and different types of youth."

The poll found that 49 percent of millennials plan to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and 28 percent plan to vote for Republican candidate Donald Trump. Historically, young voters have been more evenly divided between candidates, the polling memo reported.

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However, young Clinton and Trump supporters have heard from campaigns at roughly the same rate — 30 percent among Clinton supporters, and 28 percent among Trump supporters. 

Other key findings:

  • Only 28 percent of young people are following congressional races.
  • Sixty-six percent of millennials said they are "likely" or "extremely likely" to vote this November. 
  • Only 62 percent of young voters not contacted plan to head to the polls, compared to the 81 percent of millennials contacted multiple times who plan to vote. 
  • Men were more likely to be contacted than women, 34 percent to 26 percent. Independent men were the most likely to be contacted, at 40 percent. 
  • The poll found 80 percent of black youth are likely to vote for Clinton. At this point in 2012, President Barack Obama had 93 percent of the support of young black voters.

The poll surveyed 1,605 young people in the U.S. from Sept. 21 to Oct. 3. The margin of error was 3 percentage points. 

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