Millennials Plan to Vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016; Prefer Rand Paul Among Republican Candidates


Millennials like Hillary Clinton, according to the latest Reason-Rupe poll of millennials. Among likely millennial voters, 53 percent plan to vote for her if she runs for president in 2016.[1] Even though they see themselves as closer to Republican Gov. Chris Christie on economics, they perceive to be closer to Clinton on social issues. Ultimately they are planning to vote for Clinton. There is also reason to believe that social issues are largely driving the wedge between young people and Republicans.

Part of Clinton's popularly is undoubtedly related to her heightened name recognition. But most of the Democratic candidates asked about in the survey receive more "yes" votes than votes against them. Vice President Joe Biden comes in second with 30 percent and Elizabeth Warren with 22 percent. (Survey respondents could select more than one candidate).


Every Republican candidate is underwater receiving more "no" votes than votes in favor. Rand Paul receives the most votes of any Republican candidate (17 percent) and is the least underwater of the Republicans (-12 percent) among likely voters.

Name recognition helps potential Democratic presidential candidates more than Republican candidates. The more familiar millennials are with Democrats, the more likely they are to say they'd vote for them; the effect is muted among Republican candidates.

Overall, 45 percent of likely millennial voters indicate they would vote for at least one Republican presidential candidate and 66 percent would vote for at least one Democratic candidate offered.

When likely millennial voters were asked to select their first choice for president, the top five vote-getters include three Democrats—Hillary Clinton (39%), Elizabeth Warren (9%), and Joe Biden (7%) —followed by two Republicans, Rand Paul (6%) and Paul Ryan (6%).

Fifty-seven percent of Democratic likely voters prefer Hillary Clinton, followed by 15 percent who select Elizabeth Warren. A plurality of independent likely voters also select Hillary Clinton (34%), followed by Gary Johnson (10%), and Rand Paul (9%).

The top vote-getters among Republican likely voters are Rand Paul and Paul Ryan, who tie at 14 percent. Mike Huckabee comes in next with 13 percent, followed by Chris Christie with 12 percent, a virtual four-way tie.

The steep Democratic voting advantage among this cohort, despite their being fiscal centrists, shows that millennials' social liberalism may be a key driver behind their Democratic voting preferences.

[1] The Reason-Rupe poll asked millennials to select from a list of 15 possible presidential candidates whom they would be willing to vote for and then which candidates they would not vote for in 2016.

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To learn more about millennials, check out Reason-Rupe's new report.