Hillary Clinton, Ben Carson Lead With Millennial Voters

Clinton dominates support among young liberals, while support among young conservatives is more widely split.


Hillary Clinton/Facebook

"Millennials Favor Hillary Clinton in Harvard Poll," stated a Bloomberg Politics headline this morning. But don't despair just yet: the results of Harvard's Insitute of Politics (IOP) poll are a bit more nuanced than that. Among young Democrats—those 18- to 29-year-olds who said they're likely to vote in the 2016 Democratic primaries—Clinton does emerge as a clear front-runner; 47 percent said they back the 67-year-old Democrat in her bid for president. But that still leaves more than half of young liberal voters who don't dig Clinton, not to mention all the millennials who don't plan to vote Democrat at all. 

Overall, 55 percent of the more than 3,000 millennials surveyed said they would rather see a Democrat in the White House in 2017 than a Republican. [Only 5 percent said neither.] Black and Hispanic millennials show much more support for a Democratic president—87 percent and 68 percent, respectively—while a majority of young whites actually prefer a Republican leader next go round. Fifty-three percent of white millennials surveyed favored a Republican, with only 41 percent leaning Democrat. 

Aside from Clinton, other top candidates among the likely Democratic-primary voters were:

  • Elizabeth Warren >> 11 percent
  • Joe Biden >> 8 percent
  • Martin O'Malley >> 3 percent
  • Jim Webb >> 2 percent
  • Bernie Sanders >> 1 percent
  • Undecided >> 28 percent

No single prospective Republican candidate garnered more than 10 percent backing from young voters likely to cast a GOP primary ballot. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; that GOP candidate pool is currently much deeper than Democrats'. But some of the Republican front-runners among millennials are surprising, with Ben Carson leading the pack and Sarah Palin trumping folks such as Carli Fiorina, Chris Christie, and Marco Rubio. Here's the GOP breakdown:

  • Ben Carson >> 10 percent
  • Rand Paul >> 8 percent
  • Jeb Bush >> 7 percent
  • Mike Huckabee >> 7 percent
  • Scott Walker >> 5 percent
  • Sarah Palin >> 5 percent
  • Ted Cruz >> 5 percent
  • Chris Christie >> 4 percent
  • Rick Perry >> 3 percent
  • Rick Santorum >> 3 percent
  • Marco Rubio >> 2 percent
  • Carli Fiorina >> 2 percent
  • Bobby Jindal >> 1 percent
  • George Pataki >> 1 percent
  • Mike Pence >> 0 percent
  • Lindsay Graham >> 0 percent
  • Undecided >> 36 percent 

Respondents unlikely to vote in either the Democratic or Republican primary were not polled about their favored candidates. As such, the poll results may minimize millennial support for candidates such as Paul who (theoretically) appeal to libertarian voters and others not likely to vote in a major party primary. 

As for our current president: his approval ratings are up among millennials, after slipping in 2014. A firm 50 percent of those surveyed approve of President Obama's job performance (up from 43 percent in October 2014). Approval for Democrats in Congress has also risen since last fall (up from 35 percent support to 40 percent), while approval for Congressional Republicans has remained at 23 percent for the third consecutive IOP poll.

NEXT: Hillary Clinton Calls for 'Real Reforms' to 'End the Era of Mass Incarceration' but Does Not Specify Any

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  1. Why not poll people on whether they want to hear about any more Millennial polls again, ever.

    1. I’d be happy never to hear the word “Millennial” again outside of the context of doomsday cults.

      But the oldest members of that cohort are now what, 35? I think we can stop talking about them as if they are all irresponsible teenagers and 20 somethings living in their parents’ basements.

      1. you can still be 35 and live in your parents basement zeb.

        1. Too bad they didn’t let the housing market fully crash like it should have a few years ago…

        2. Zeb can’t.

          Restraining order
          That’s the word on the street, if you can believe that (they did a poll).

          1. Jeez, I knew polls were stupid…

            Actually I had to get the restraining order to stop them locking me in the basement again.

        3. This is true. Hell, I have known people who were 50 and lived in their parents’ basement.

          I’m just feeling impatient today with stupid generalizations.

          1. Can this cheer you up a bit: “Lindsay Graham 0 percent”?

          2. Mom, Meatloaf! Fuck!

            1. I love meatloaf. I also make the best meat loaf.

              1. Recipe?

                1. I’m not much of a recipe user.

                  Beef, pork, maybe veal. Onion, garlic, green pepper, oatmeal, egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, soy sauce, paprika, oregano, Frank’s Red Hot sauce. Other stuff depending on mood and season.

                  Mash it up with your hands. Make a loaf. Oil and lightly salt and pepper the outside. Bake it.

                  1. Meat loaf is a hamburger with the bread on the inside so you can’t eat it as a sandwich. I don’t see the point.

                    1. Meat loaf sandwiches are very good.

                      You obviously haven’t had good meatloaf. It’s more a sausage without a casing or, if you want to be all fancy, a country style pate.

          3. Yeah, but it’s not the same if they’re taking care of their parents. I’ve known at least a couple of those; they never moved out until they got their surviving parent into a nursing home.

      2. Now you’ve just helped me imagine them as 30 somethings living in their parents’ basements.

        “Stay out of my room, show me respect, here’s my college loan bill and hey! When’s dinner?”

  2. So it seems that young black and Latin people support Democrats just like their elders do, while the young honkies lean Republican.

    Is this a distinctively Millennial phenomenon? More like “polls of young people confirm that whites go for Republicans, blacks and latins go for Dems.”

    1. It’d be interesting to see a state or regional breakdown. It’s not surprising to me at all that Republicans enjoy large support from young white people in many areas of the South or Midwest. I’d imagine on the West Coast (from personal experience) and the Northeast, things would lean the other way.

      1. That’s my impression too, although probably based on less personal experience and more on what I read in the press and online.

    2. Is this a distinctively Millennial phenomenon?

      Of course not. People have been voting like their parents for centuries.

    3. I would put money on young white people leaning left in the 60s.

      1. Their 60s? The 1960s? The 2060s?

  3. That headline… I just can’t even…
    *dies from aneurysm*

    1. And the atrocious formatting, switching back and forth between numerals and words for the percentages.

      1. Blame AP style for that; numbers under 10 get spelled out

        1. Ha, just kidding. I mean, that is true, but I notice I didn’t actually stick to that, whoops..

        2. But not less than 5?

        3. “From now on, we’ll be spelling everything with letters”

  4. Hillary + Liz Warren = unstoppable!

    We’ve had the first black prez, now it’s time for the first female president! Let’s make history again!

    /Team Deluded

  5. heheheeeeeeeeee!

    So, Hillary Clinton against [cardboard cutout] already does better. Like I said, who else are the young independently minded millennials going to vote for? Oh I know, email scandals, Clinton Foundation scandals… it’s all so much ‘blah blah blah’ with the Buzzfeed crowd…

    And this morning, CNN referred to clinton as the “Prohibitive Democratic favorite”.

    But there’s no bias, none.

  6. Ben Carson? Jesus Christ.

    Other than that, there’s not much in this poll I find surprising (beyond the notion millennials will vote at all).

    1. Proving once again that Evangelicals are just as retarded as progressives.

      1. Retarded, yet Evangelicals believe their behavior has consequences.

      2. Or that the reach of identity politics is so deep and festering that even afflicts the nominally anti-identity politics crowd.

        Ben Carson is only a consideration because he’s black. The same way Obama was only a consideration because he’s black.

    2. Flavor of the week.

    3. Hey, he’s a doctor, like Rand Paul. “I like that doctor, specializes in some part of the head…uh…some race….”

  7. This just in. Millennials are really really stupid.

    1. hey man, thinking for yourself is difficult.

    2. Stop it. Every age cohort is really stupid taken as a whole.

    3. According to the Pew Institute, if you’re 38, you’re still a millenial. This is poll seems to confirm the extended age bracket as it refers to 29 year olds “young millenials” as opposed to 29 being the cutoff.

      1. Fuck that. I’m the tail end of Gen-X and I’m sticking with that.

        1. We don’t want you, don’t you understand? Go back to your helicopter parents and self-esteem programs, we’re busy being cynical and disaffected.

          1. Ha. You haven’t seen the pictures of me doing roofing at age 6.

            I’m plenty cynical and disaffected, thank-you.

        2. One-of-Us! One-of-Us! Zeb join me in the derp side, together we can become techsavvy/selfimportant creatures.

        3. “Zeb|2015/04/29 13:42:31|#5265533

          Fuck that. I’m the tail end of Gen-X and I’m sticking with that.”

          what was your first video game console?

          no lying.

          1. I was never an early adopter or a big video game person. I had some kind of Atari that someone gave us. The one with a keyboard. The first new console we had was NES and that was when I was 14.

            First computer was either a Commodore 64 or (I think) Apple 2E.

            Consumer electronics weren’t a big thing in my family.

          2. I’m with Zeb… 38 and I’ll stick with Gen-X as well.

            First video game console: Atari 2600
            First computer: TRS-80 Color Computer 2, with 64 K of RAM

          3. Mine was NES. I’m old enough to remember when Dave Grohl was a drummer and everlast was a rapper. How I got lumped in with the self-esteem crowd its beyond me.

            1. You all qualify!

              Anyone who owned an NES or Commodore 64 is a member of the Gen X tribe.

              Having a 2600 is like instant ‘made man’

              1. I think Commodore 64 ownership is actually the REAL cutoff.

                I played the shit out of our C64. It was awesome.

          4. Welcome to gen X (I’m 43)

            First video game console – Sears Telegames (Atari knockoff).
            Video game – Adventure – run from the block dragon
            First computer – Atari 800 XL with 64 KB Ram!
            Tape drive than 5 .25 inch disk with 700K on each side (If you cut a hole)!

            (Also had an intellivision, genesis, etc)

        4. Fuck that. I’m the tail end of Gen-X and I’m sticking with that.

          As a Gen Xer myself, I can assure it’s also your fault.

      2. 1981-1997

          – from 2010, it was defined as 1977 – 1992


          [this is a disputed age range ? a more recent report from Pew suggests that Gen Xers were born from 1965-1976), and the Millennial Generation (born 1981+ [now defined as being born between 1977 and 1992]).

          1. a more recent report from Pew suggests that Gen Xers were born from 1965-1976

            What the hell does that even mean? It’s just an arbitrary range of years.

      3. If you’re 38, you were 23 in the year 2000. You were not (or at least should not have still been) “coming of age” then.

        1. I was certainly at the tail end of coming of age around 23. Consider that many kids are getting out of school at that point and learning about how the real world works outside of campus enclaves.

          Not saying this is universal, but it is still true for a lot of kids.

          For my part, by the time I was 23 I had been on my own figuring stuff out for 4 years and I was just finishing up a rather huge change in my world view.

      4. Wait, what? 1977 is Millenial? Fuck that.

        My wife and I will cut someone who accuses us of being Millenials.

        1. It’s a stupid concept, particularly because the generational cohorts make more sense based upon upbringings and values more so than simple age. I know a few people born in the late 70’s best classified as early millenials and a far greater number born in the early 80’s (including myself) that are best lumped in as late Gen-X. There is always an overlap.

  8. Sarah Palin trumping folks such as Carli Fiorina, Chris Christie, and Marco Rubio.

    So is Palin going to run?

  9. As a millennial I can say that these polls are meaningless because we don’t vote anyway.

    1. I hope that’s true. My position now is pro-apathy, anti-voting. I just need to convince more people that they also don’t need to have an opinion about politics at all. The biggest problem, I think, is all the people who think that they must have a political viewpoint but can’t be bothered with any thought or facts.

      1. The biggest problem, I think, is all the people who think that they must have a political viewpoint but can’t be bothered with any thought or facts.

        We refer to them as ‘voters’.

        1. Hence my “Don’t vote” campaign.

          I really want to get some “I didn’t Vote” stickers made up. Maybe stand outside of the poll with signs. It would at the very least be some awesome performance art.

          1. No Un-Electioneering at the polling place!

      2. I’m fine with the wrong people not voting, but the right people should vote. Since you’re here, Zeb, you are someone who should vote. I know all the arguments about how one vote doesn’t make a difference, etc. But even a symbolic protest means something. I’ve missed a few elections in SF, but I usually vote, even though I am rarely on the winning side of anything. At least I help make sure Pelosi doesn’t get 100% of the vote.

  10. Go ahead- tell me again how smart and savvy and independent-minded those liberaltarian millenials are.
    I dare ya.

    1. It’s just stupid to make any generalizations about a vaguely defined age group. Young people always skew left on average. But they seem to be as politically diverse as any cohort.


      1. Am I the only one who 1st reads that word “den-knee-AY”?

        1. (Like dernier missing the 1st r.)

          1. Or the measure of fiber density in textiles.

  11. We need a gay black muslim disabled woman so we can just get this identity shit out of everyone’s system in one shot.

    1. Would you settle for a limping Louis Farrakhan in a burqa?

    2. Gay black muslim disabled transgendered woman, you cis-normative hater! /sarc

    3. The Republicans are already running Lindsey Graham.

    4. I still think that the Libertarians need to run a lesbian asian-american, probably a business owner, who focuses on the social issues side of Libertarianism and can quote from Chesterton, Rowling, Pynchon in one speech. No chance she would win, but she would get a LOT of attention for the LP.

  12. Hey, remember when Millenials were totally opposed to the Iraq War for principled reasons? You know, before shitloads of those same people decided to support Hillary Clinton, one of its major supporters?

    1. And they already expressed their opposition to the Iraq War by voting for another big supporter of the war eleven years ago. Why change now?

  13. Vote for Granny Clinton!

    Yeah…that will work. Overweight, old, ignorant, nasty white woman.

  14. If Rand Paul doesn’t appeal to the yutes, then no Libertarian or Libertarianish Republican will.

    1. Eh, the campaign has really not begun for most yutes. They won’t start paying attention for another year.

  15. Young conservatives show the most support for Ben Carson

    I’m not trying to be snarky, but my immediate thought really was: “Who?”

    1. My same response.

    2. Ben Carson is a total super star among SOCONS. Reason pretends that Huckabe and Santorum matter because they don’t actually know any SOCONs. Those two are has beens. The real star and leader of the SOCON movement is Carson.

      1. Social conservatives can be even dumber than liberals, and they really, really want to say they support a Black man to prove they aren’t racist. But eventually the smarter among them will inform the others that Carson is not a conservative and should not be trusted.

        1. First, not all of them are free market idealists. There is a lot of populism in the SOCON movement and Carson taps into that. The fact that he is black certainly helps him. What really made him a star was his willingness to stand up to Obama and to be an unapologetic SOCON. Like a lot of the GOP base, the SOCONs want more than anything for someone to stand up and fight and stop cowering to the Democrats and media.

          The SOCONs are a lot like Libertarians in that way. They are a minority group who feels betrayed by politics and long for someone to proudly make their case.

          1. It’s not just economic issues. He also supports affirmative action, gun control, and a “guest worker program.”

            1. The gun control stance will kill him if that is his position. I don’t honestly know. I just know he is a huge star.

  16. “Fifth-three percent of white millennials surveyed favored a Republican, with only 41 percent leaning Democrat.”

    I’m trying to help without being overly horrible.

      1. He is still horrible.

      2. He is still horrible.

        1. Now I am horrible.

          1. You are horrible.

    1. “I’m trying to help without being overly horrible”

      Way to ruin our reputation, chuck
      (kicks can)

      1. “Way to ruin our reputation, chuck”

        If I ruined anyone’s reputation, Gil, wouldn’t that make me be horrible again?

  17. I’ll try to say this in the most delicate manner responsible, respecting the diverse and multivaried nature of the millenial demographic:

    We’re fucked. And it’s all their fault.

    1. Hey, millenials know they can’t fuck future generations to the same degree they’re getting fucked. That’s gotta count for something.

    2. I wonder if you’d say that about other even more Dem-voting groups like the Blacks, Jews, homosexuals or Mexicans. We’re fucked, and it’s their fault!

      1. This is Hit & Run. 90+% percent of what we say is snark. Re-read and interpret accordingly.

      2. I think the gay vote can be safely ignored – those other groups each outnumber us like ten to one.

  18. What about John Kerry?
    “Reporting for Duty”.

    1. I did see something that mentioned him as a candidate. After all his diplomatic triumphs, why not?

    2. Carter can always run again.

  19. I don’t know if I can take any ballot seriously that doesn’t have Pedro on it.

    1. You have to perform a skit!

  20. I can’t see – are we boned?

  21. Would it be inappropriate or horrible to point out that these polls are so far out from any actual election, and so meaningless in terms of the margin of difference vs. margin of error, that it amounts to so much “political Phrenology”?

    maybe that’s too generous. more like …what did the Oracle of Delphi do? examine the intestines of birds? ‘augury’?

    1. I think the Delphi oracle just got high on cave gasses.

      1. Right. Apparently the ‘bird guts’ prognostication was Roman, as well

  22. How Hillary Clinton has Millennial appeal is anyone’s guess.

    1. Political correctness. It works.

    2. Only a minuscule fraction of people make up their minds based on their own judgment of facts. The rest favor or disfavor someone because other people favor or disfavor that someone.

      If the above were not the case, someone could run for president & win w just a few thousand popular votes, because that’s the most anyone would ever get. You could carry some states with, like, 5 votes.

  23. Fifty-three percent of white millennials surveyed favored a Republican, with only 41 percent leaning Democrat.

    Ding, ding, ding ….
    This is a very interesting fact. I wonder how it compares to past generations. I would bet that white 20-somethings have leaned generally left since the 60s. So what changed?

    Answer: Obama and identity politics. By making politics a battle between identity groups, largely based on race, he has polarized blacks and whites into opposing camps. Whites – even white millenials have been driven away from the Democratic party, which is increasingly a race-based coalition of blacks, hispanics, and other minority groups. (Also public service unions, but those probably are disproportionately minority membership too.)
    Obama talks pretty about race relations but he’s governed as a guy that gives handouts to “his people”. Note that the ACA fucks over middle-class young professionals (aka. white millenials).

    1. This is also why the current Democratic party is so tepid for Hillary Clinton. What appeal does she have for blacks and hispanics? The only identity group she can play to is women – which is exactly why she’s playing it that way. She had to run on identity because that where the democratic party is right now, and it’s the only card she holds.

      1. I think it shows that white Millennials are still very much susceptible to identify politics. Race was the biggie in 2008, and now gender is.

      2. The appeal she has is perceived electability as a Democrat.

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