DES MOINES — Democrat Hillary Clinton is holding a 23-point lead over Republican Donald Trump among younger voters — approaching the same margin President Barack Obama polled among millennials in 2012 — according to a public opinion survey issued Friday.
The Simpson College/RABA Research results of a three-day online survey of Americans under the age of 30 nationwide found Clinton with 49 percent compared with Trump’s 26 percent. Libertarian Gary Johnson polled 11 percent support, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein was at 5 percent. Another 10 percent was undecided.
The survey of 1,202 voters ages 18 to 29 — 54 percent women and 46 percent men — was conducted Oct. 10-12 and has an estimated margin of error of 3 points.
Kedron Bardwell, a Simpson College professor who chairs the political science department, said Clinton’s margin of support was not a surprise given that former rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, has been campaigning for her and interest in third-party candidates seems to be waning as the Nov. 8 election approaches.
“These young people are pretty progressive when it comes to issues of race and ethnicity and immigration and tolerance, and I think that’s really working against Trump in trying to capture any of these millennials,” Bardwell said. “He actually only has two-thirds of Republican millennials in our poll. That’s not closing the deal with the members of the party that he needs to — at least among the younger ones.”
The big question is whether young voters will actually turn out to cast ballots, something opinion surveys cannot measure, he noted.
The Simpson/RABA survey is the first of its kind, fielding questions written by millennials studying at Simpson College in Indianola, and capturing young voters’ responses online rather than trying to reach them with traditional telephone interviews.
RABA Research was founded in 2016 by a bipartisan group of political professionals who have worked for candidates, issues, organizations and corporations across the globe.
The survey found a strong belief among young voters (58 percent) in the idea of “white privilege,” and 60 percent support for immigration reform. Younger voters are split on #BlackLivesMatter, with 43 percent having a favorable impression and 36 percent with an unfavorable view. Also, 57 percent of under-30 voters surveyed expressed optimism about their economic prospects.
“Despite media reports earlier this year of younger voters being wary of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee currently enjoys a margin of support among these voters equal to Barack Obama’s final margin in 2012,” said Democratic RABA Partner Brad Anderson.
“Our survey finds that young people are not gravitating to third party alternatives, nor are they overwhelmingly dissatisfied with the Democratic Party,” Anderson added.
Republican RABA Partner Kim Alfano said: “It would appear that despite Donald Trump’s efforts to appeal to disaffected voters in both parties, he has not garnered the support he had hoped for. This could be a function of his latest controversial comments, as well as Bernie Sanders’ efforts to help Hillary Clinton."