Election 2016

Two-Thirds of Millennials Disgusted with "Binary Choice" Between Trump & Clinton

"The election is a complete joke."


Reason magazine

According to a new USA Today/Rock The Vote survey of millennials, voters under the age of 35 really dislike the Republican Party and its presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

Given the GOP's and Trump's hostility to immigrants and immigration—stances that particularly alienate younger Americans—that's not surprising. In fact, it's in line with previous polls showing the Republican Party facing an almost-existential crisis among younger voters. The 2014 Reason-Rupe poll of millennials, for instance, found that twice as many (43 percent) of 18-to-29-year-olds identified as Democratic as Republican. While George W. Bush split the youth vote with Al Gore in 2000, Barack Obama won 18-to-29-year-olds by 34 points in 2008 and 22 points in 2012.

In the new survey, half of those under 35 say they identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party; just 20% identify with or lean toward the Republican Party. Seventeen percent are independents, and another 12% either identify with another party or don't know.

Trump's weakness among younger voters is unprecedented, lower even than the 32% of the vote that the Gallup Organization calculates Richard Nixon received among 18-to-29-year-old voters in 1972, an era of youthful protests against the Vietnam War.

USA Today/Rock The Vote

A total of 29 percent of millennials said they are independent, identify with a third party, or don't know which party they care for.

When it comes to the presidential candidates, Trump pulls just 20 percent compared to Clinton's 50 percent. Libertarian Gary Johnson pulls 11 percent (higher than his overall popularity of about 8 percent), and Green Party nominee Jill Stein gets 4 percent. Ten percent say they won't vote and another 8 percent aren't sure who they might support.

The polls of 1,500 millennials was conducted online between August 5 and 10 (frustratingly, USA Today doesn't provide questions or cross-tabs). Respondents viewed the GOP convention in Cleveland negatively, which Trump's rating going down compared to earlier polls.

They didn't like what they saw at the GOP conclave in Cleveland. At least 50% of those surveyed say Trump seemed less presidential, less credible and less trustworthy afterwards. By more than 2-1, they say he seemed less human and less accessible. On each of five characteristics, Trump's standing fell.

Most millennials now say that the economy, college costs, national security, and law-enforcement issues top their concerns, according to the poll. By a 6-to-1 count, reports USA Today, Clinton supporters see police mistreatment of blacks and minorites as a bigger problem than violence against cops. Trump supporters see those two issues as equally pressing.

Yet it's wrong to say that Hillary Clinton is actually anything like the choice of the younger generation. Even as new polls by The Washington Post/ABC News both confirm the general findings of the USA Today/Rock The Vote survey, they add a strong sense of despair and disgust among millennials for both major-party candidates.

Clinton and Trump, reports The Washington Post,

are deeply polarizing with younger Americans, just as they are with the broader population. Seventy-two percent said they have an unfavorable view of Trump, while 49 percent said the same of Clinton. An overwhelming majority — 68 percent — said they are dissatisfied with the choice of Clinton or Trump.

One-quarter of younger voters said in the two Post-ABC polls that they would support a third-party candidate. In a four-way race, Clinton leads among younger voters with 43 percent, followed by Trump at 25 percent, Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson at 16 percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein at 9 percent.

One person interviewed summed up widely shared negative feelings:

"This election is a complete joke," lamented Donovan De­Weese, 25, a pantry chef at a steakhouse in Fort Collins.

"This is my future," he said. "When I have kids, this will be something they remember me for. When my parents were this age, they had candidates like JFK and Ronald Reagan. These candidates we have now are not inspiring."

The Post goes on to note that millennials' responses are largely reactions to public personality traits of the candidates, rather than substantive policy issues. That too makes a fair amount of sense, as Clinton and Trump agree on broad policies such as trade protectionism and foreign interventionism; despite kinder election-year rhetoric toward immigrants, Clinton has a long track record of hostility toward immigrants as a senator and secretary of state. While she is pushing free in-state tuition at public universities and some sort of relief of student debt, she's also openly hostile to the sharing economy and favors broad surveillance-state measures, both of which put her crossways with millennials.

In 2014, Reason published a special issue of Reason and a set of web-only features about millennials, politics, and culture. Check it out here.

And last year, we asked GOP pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, author of The Selfie Vote: Where Millenials are Leading America (And How Republicans Can Keep Up), why the party of Lincoln sucked so bad at winning young voters. Take a look:

NEXT: Gary Johnson "Making Major Inroads With Latino Voters," Now at 16 Percent

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Woo-hoo! Another millennial poll!

  2. Where the Millennials are leading America?

    They better stay the fuck off my lawn.

    1. I’m an American millennial leader (according to 1 definition). I’m disgusted by my peers, though, so I know I’m firmly libertarian.

      1. You’re just a curmudgeon, Spence

        1. I don’t know. I stroll through twitter and I swear, librarians are the dumbest fucks ever… and I’m a leader of them. What does that make me? (To be fair, these aren’t MY librarians, but… damn.)

          1. Sugarfree hardest hit.

            (Isnt he a librarian?)

            1. Idk, what do you call somebody who does unthinkable things to books? I don’t think that librarian quite captures that.

  3. Rock the Vote!

    1. Vote or die!


  4. Since were talking about shitty government types…

    Like the vaping thing this is straight-up open cronyism where the people doing it don’t give a single fuck about the health of those who will be impacted by this.

    But one company, at least, welcomes more government regulation of stool. Rebiotix, a startup based in Minnesota that is developing an enema treatment of bacteria extracted from poop, told the FDA to shut down the stool banks and adopt the strictest regulation possible in dictating how samples are procured. The company contends that this is for the patients’ own good, as stool banks may not be fully screening their samples for diseases.

    Rebiotix is also worried about its bottom line. If the company’s poop-like drug for C. diff makes it through the rigorous clinical trial process before anybody else, it would win the rights to be an exclusive seller of the product for seven years, gaining a huge lead in a market expected to be worth $1.5 billion by 2024. (The company declined to say how much its product would ultimately sell for, but a 2015 internal Rebiotix report obtained by BuzzFeed News forecasted a price range of $3,000 to $10,000.)

    1. poop-like drug


  5. If only there were a President who promised to solve all of lifes problems and stuff.

    1. +1 sea level rise.

      1. Hopefully we wont see a C rise a level.

  6. The Post goes on to note that millennials’ responses are largely reactions to public personality traits of the candidates, rather than substantive policy issues.

    Does the Post further go on to note that millennials are a subset of the population?

  7. TL;DR: we are doomed when all these dissatisfied youth pull the Hillary lever.

  8. Though I love Hillary and she can do no wrong in my eyes, I’m nevertheless disappointed with her college tuition giveaway program. It will only make college more expensive and make people more dependent on government, and it’s unnecessarily generous for courting the millenial vote. The funny thing is, people say they want free stuff, but in reality they end up resenting it. As Harry Reid explained – “The one thing I did that I’m always proud of ? the first time I got money, I worked all one summer in a service station ? I bought my mother some teeth. If I do nothing else in my life, I got my mother some teeth.” We are depriving kids of a sense of accomplishment and self-sufficiency. Not to mention, it makes them feel like “Why the hell did I work so hard when I could have gotten it for free?” and “Maybe if I defer paying back the loan I won’t have to.” It’s pretty horrible policy. Nevertheless, I love, love, love Hillary, and I don’t think any less of her because of this.

    1. Though I love Hillary and she can do no wrong in my eyes

      Seriously? “love”?

      Do you think she “loves” you back?

    2. Not sure if trolling or displaying ungodly amounts of /sarc.

    3. What’s not to love?

  9. “Two-Thirds of Millennials Disgusted with “Binary Choice” Between Trump & Clinton”

    Yeah, neither one is promising free shit like Bern!

    1. The Bernary choice is the ONLY CHOICE!

  10. Two-Thirds of Millennials Disgusted


    Remaining third, “can’t even”

  11. “Binary”. Another of the words bastardized by the SJW proggies to signify something they “don’t like”.

  12. Also: the woman interviewed by Gillespie is a definite “would” x1000

  13. I’m 30 in the bay area, and most millennials here are a joke. don’t know anything about basic economics, or have the faintest idea of what capitalism is, but they rally against it like they don’t what they are talking about.

    They will reliably keep voting democrat even though most of their problems (school costs, housing prices, slow economy, etc) are made worse by them voting D.

    They think housing is so expensive because of greedy capitalists and engineers at facebook. Blank fucking look on their face when discussing zoning policy and the fact that demand goes up but government keeps supply the same.

  14. I wonder how many of these snot-nose little shits disgusted with this ‘binary’ choice registered Republican and voted for Rand Paul in the primaries.

  15. It’s too bad people in general don’t vote based on policy. Because Millennials are actually frugal when it comes to personal finances. They’ll associate with Democrats because if you don’t you’re a big mean racist and young people are always more liberal. But if you were to actually ask them specifically about spending and revenue, they’d probably disagree with the Democrats approach much more so than their blind support for Democrats suggests.

    I’ve seen a couple surveys where this plays out with socialism too. A bunch of Millennials say, “Yay, socialism!” But then when you actually describe what socialism really is, those exact same people favor it much less.

    In closing, people are fucking stupid.

  16. Lol–there’s more emasculated shitlib asspain in the promoted comments in one week than we get from Tony and amsoc in 6 months. Keep it coming, nerds!

  17. Attention Progressive Democons,

    Get your lazy brains out of CNN”s a$$ because how hard is it to see for yourself on the Internet that Trump has millions of more social media followers than Hillary and that Trumplicans are crushing CNN’s Twitter site with complaints of bias and go see for yourself that Trump’s massive rally numbers are crushing Hillary’s and check it out for yourself that Trump is crushing ALL “independent” online polls averaging 87% and check it out for yourself that Trumplicans have successfully crushed CNN’s TV ratings to below Home & Garden TV.

    Hillary is going down like Monica so be real open minded and tolerant liberals and watch at least ONE of Trump’s speeches on YouTube, then you can call him an “insane racist” if you still think that is the “progressive” and loving thing to do.

    1. Attention racist asshole.

      It’s going to be a close race, and Trump is going to concede to Hillary. Sorry to burst your racist union bubble.

      This election has been rigged.

      Maybe if you were not such a racist shitstain you could see that.


      Jimmy Free Trade Pirate.


  18. What !!!!!!

    Was Obama not good enough for them !!!!!!

    1. Millennials must be teh RACIST !!!!

      And ChristFags to boot !!!!!

  19. Wait, Donovan’s parents were 25 for Kennedy and Reagan’s inaugurations? So I figure he is what, the love child of Woody Allen and Whoopi Goldberg?

    I mean Kennedy was 56 years ago for Christ’s sake, the only people who really remember Kennedy at all at this point are the blue hairs.

  20. Just remember that most of them wanted Bernie and still don’t realize how disastrous his policies were, or that he never really cared about ending the drug war or avoiding foreign entanglements as much as he did about the minimum wage and free college

  21. An overwhelming majority of millennials, 68%, say they are not satisfied with Trump/Clinton. Also, an overwhelming majority of millennials, 68%, say they will be voting for either Clinton (50%) or Trump (18%). Hope and change is a comin’.

    1. I was going to mock them for exactly that.

      Why would you explicitly say that you are voting for someone with whom you are completely unsatisfied? It’s nuts.

      1. Its not nuts if you’ve spent the last twenty years (which also happen to be the fvirst twenty years of your life) being told how important it is to vote for a major party candidate. I’d much rather see them taking baby steps towards being open to freedom. Personally, my own libertarianess grew out of disgust with the choices in 2008

  22. Who’s this 32% that’s happy with the choices? I’m asking for a friend…

  23. And it is abspolhutely not a binary choice. More like choosing one out of one and a half, whatever you’d call that

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.