Millennial poll: Historic youth wave coming in 2018, Dems outnumber GOP 2-1

Submitted by on Wed, 04/11/2018 - 07:38


Younger Americans have long told pollsters that they plan to vote and they are set to make good on that promise this fall in historic numbers.

And when they do, it will be a wave favoring the Democrats, according to a new survey of voters aged 18-29 from Harvard University’s Institute of Politics being released Tuesday.

The survey found that 53 percent probably or definitely will be voting. And of those most likely to vote, 55 percent lean Democratic and 21 percent Republican.

Many in Washington politics have long heard that younger voters plan to storm the voting booths in the fall only to see their numbers and enthusiasm taper off as voting day nears. But this year may be different.

"This is the highest level of interest in voting we have seen in midterm cycle since we started the poll," IOP polling director John Della Volpe said.

He compared it to the post-Watergate period when a new group stormed into Congress. "In the election after Watergate, we saw a movement aimed at rebuilding trust in public institutions, a sharp increase in self-identified independents – and a new generation of Americans elected to Congress. These same factors are in play, and I think young voters are only getting warmed up," he told Secrets.

Harvard’s IOP gave some statistical reasoning for raising expectations that younger voters, particularly unsupportive of President Trump and Congress, mean business this fall:

Young Democrats are driving nearly all of the increase in enthusiasm; a majority (51%) report that they will “definitely” vote in November, which represents a 9-percentage point increase since November 2017 and is significantly larger than the 36 percent of Republicans who say the same. At this point in the 2014 election cycle, 28 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of Republicans indicated that they would “definitely” be voting. In the Spring of 2010, 35 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of Republicans held a similar interest in voting.

Preference for Democratic control of Congress has grown between now and the time of the last IOP poll. In Fall 2017, there was a 32-point partisan gap among the most likely young voters, 65 percent preferring Democrats control Congress, with 33 percent favoring Republicans. Today, the gap has increased to 41 points, 69 percent supporting Democrats and 28 percent Republicans.

In a statement accompanying the poll, Della Volpe added, "Millennials and post-Millennials are on the verge of transforming the culture of politics today and setting the tone for the future."