When it comes to youth voters, it’s not so much experience that counts. Rather, it’s a candidate’s “integrity, level-headedness and authenticity.”
The findings come from a Harvard Institute of Politics poll of 18-29 year olds released Thursday.
The preference may explain why Donald Trump and Ben Carson, who do not have experience, lead the GOP candidates. The poll shows Trump with 22 percent to Carson’s 20 percent, which is “a statistical dead-heat.”
Carson enjoys 43 percent support from those who say he is “qualified to be president,” regardless of who primary voters will support. Trump has a slight difference between those who think he is “qualified,” at 38 percent, compared to the 39 percent who think he is “not qualified.”
For the Democratic candidates, the preference is even more significant. Hillary Clinton and her supporters have touted her experience to be president, though she still struggles with Millennials. As the IOP notes, with original emphasis: “Starting at 1% in Spring 2015, Bernie Sanders Now Holds Lead (41%-35%) over Hillary Clinton; Most Don’t Believe “Democratic Socialist” Label Makes a Difference.”
Not only does the label not make a difference, 24 percent of young voters believes it makes them “more likely” to vote for Sanders, while only 9 percent said it made them “less likely.”
Young voters are not only enthusiastic about Sanders, but about seeing a Democrat president elected in 2016. Over half, at 56 percent, of voters would prefer a Democrat over a Republican. IOP notes this is “a net increase of five points since the IOP’s spring 2015 survey was released.”
As some see it, this could signify diminishing chances for the GOP to win the White House in 2016.
It is worth noting that IOP also notes only 20 percent of young adults view themselves as “politically engaged and active,” which is a drop since Fall 2011, when it was 25 percent. Also, more young adults, at 52 percent, are “not very” or “not at all” following the campaign, compared to the 46 percent who are “very” or “somewhat” doing so.