UMass Lowell and Odyssey representatives are available for interviews about today’s poll.
Nearly a quarter of Americans ages 18 to 35 would rather see a giant meteor strike the Earth than see either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the White House, according to the new UMass Lowell/Odyssey
Millennials poll released today.
The poll asked millennials to choose their preference between Clinton as president, Trump as president, a random lottery to choose the president from all U.S. citizens, Barack Obama appointing himself to a life term as president or a giant meteor striking Earth and extinguishing all human life. Over a Clinton or Trump presidency, 39 percent of those surveyed said they preferred Obama serve a life term; 26 percent prefer a random lottery to choose the next president and 23 percent (nearly 1 in 4) prefer a giant meteor strike.
The national poll – conducted Oct. 10 through Oct. 13 – asked millennials about their attitudes and opinions on the upcoming election, from some irreverent options to the candidates to serious issues such as race relations, immigration and legalization of marijuana.
“We do not take our respondents at their word that they are earnestly interested in seeing the world end, but we do take their willingness to rank two constitutional crises and a giant meteor ahead of these two candidates with startling frequency as a sign of displeasure and disaffection with the candidates and the 2016 election,” said Prof. Joshua Dyck, co-director of UMass Lowell’s Center for Public Opinion, who wrote and analyzed the independent, nonpartisan poll. Fellow contributors to the poll are Prof. John Cluverius, Center for Public Opinion research fellow, and Michael Luciano, director of editorial innovation for Odyssey, the social media platform that democratizes how news and other content is created and consumed, enriching people’s lives with new, honest, meaningful ideas and enabling businesses to build relationships with more engaged audiences.
By a 3-to-1 margin, millennials who are likely voters prefer Democrat Hillary Clinton to Republican Donald Trump in a head-to-head race for president, 66 percent to 22 percent with 12 percent undecided. When third-party candidates are included, Clinton gets 61 percent of likely voters’ support, Trump stays at 22 percent, Libertarian Gary Johnson gets 9 percent, Jill Stein of the Green Party gets 5 percent and only 3 percent are undecided.
The poll found that millennials dislike Trump and have reservations about Clinton. Trump is viewed favorably by only 25 percent of registered voters surveyed, compared to 72 percent who view him unfavorably. Only 19 percent view him as level-headed, 20 percent said he had the right experience to be president and 23 percent believe he cares about people like them. Majorities of respondents also said they view Trump as dishonest, lacking leadership and someone who would not bring the right kind of change to the country. Sixty-three percent of likely voters said he should drop out of the presidential race.
When it came to Clinton, 56 percent of those surveyed said they view her favorably, far less than the approval rating for Bernie Sanders (73 percent) and Barack Obama (71 percent). Clinton’s biggest liability, according to the millennials surveyed, is honesty (only 36 percent say she is honest) and 46 percent said she takes responsibility for her mistakes. Seventy-one percent said they believe she is intelligent (compared to 35 percent for Trump), 67 percent said she has the right experience to be president (compared to 20 percent for Trump) and 60 percent said she is level-headed (compared to 19 percent for Trump). However, millennials are split on whether Clinton cares about people like them (55 percent said yes, 45 percent said no) and whether she would bring the right kind of change to the country (51 percent yes to 49 percent no).
Millennials were also asked how they would vote if Bernie Sanders was the Democratic candidate instead of Hillary Clinton. In a head-to-head matchup between Trump and Sanders, 67 percent of millennials would choose Sanders compared to 23 percent for Trump and 10 percent were undecided, the same margin (44 percentage points) by which Clinton leads Trump in a head-to-head matchup of likely voters. However, among those surveyed who said they were not likely to vote, Sanders leads Trump 63 percent to 15 percent, with 22 percent undecided, compared to Clinton leading Trump 42 percent to 21 percent with 37 percent undecided among the same group. The results could be an indicator that Sanders supporters in the millennial age group are still unwilling to support Clinton and may not plan to vote in the election as a result. However, among Sanders supporters who do intend to vote, they are choosing Clinton over Trump.
Survey respondents were also asked who they would vote for if it was Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence, rather than Trump, facing Clinton for the presidency. The poll found Clinton leads Pence among likely voters 63 percent to 21 percent, a margin that is almost identical to her lead over Trump.
These results could indicate that, regardless of who the candidates are, millennial voters’ preferences are influenced by party identification. Millennials are identifying as Democrats by a nearly 3-to-1 margin. This trend may be a troubling one for the Republican Party if millennials continue on the same ideological path.
“In the 2004 election, young voters were closely divided: Democrat John Kerry won 18- to 29-year-olds by 11 points. But since 2008, we have seen a significant shift, with millennials abandoning the GOP in large numbers. The nomination of Donald Trump appears only to have made things worse for Republicans, with fewer than 1 in 4 likely voters 18 to 35 years old supporting the candidate,” said Dyck. “Since party identification is something that people tend to carry with them throughout their lives, the GOP is not just digging a hole in this election, but also setting the stage for future losses as millennials get older and become a bigger part of the electorate.”
Luciano echoed that opinion. “Among millennials, Hillary Clinton is beating Donald Trump by a significantly larger margin than we saw Barack Obama beat John McCain and Mitt Romney in 2008 and 2012, respectively. As the largest demographic in the country, millennials are going to play an increasingly bigger role in elections in the coming years. If Republicans want to be competitive in future presidential races, they need to reverse what they should consider a troubling trend among the millennial generation.”
Other findings from the poll include:
- All but 8 percent of likely voters who are millennials have heard about the recording of controversial remarks about women made in 2005 and 56 percent have watched video or listened to the recording of the conversation. Forty-one percent of those polled said it makes them less likely to support Trump, but 11 percent of respondents said it makes them more likely to support Trump, including 18 percent of white men surveyed.
- Forty one percent of those surveyed said that the number of immigrants in the U.S. should be decreased while 30 percent said the number should be increased and 29 percent said they are undecided.
- On the issue of race, 46 of millennials say the federal government treats whites better than blacks, compared to 44 percent who said they are treated about the same. On Colin Kaepernick, the NFL quarterback who kneels during the National Anthem as a statement about racial discrimination, 46 percent of white respondents said they dislike him compared to 21 percent of black respondents. Fifty-eight percent of those who support Trump said they dislike Kaepernick.
- Fifty-eight percent of millennials polled said they support making marijuana legal for recreational use compared to 27 percent who are opposed.
Results of the UMass Lowell/Odyssey Millennials Poll are based responses from a random sample of 1,247 American adults ages 18 through 35, including 966 registered voters and 680 likely voters, gathered via an online survey from Oct. 10 through Oct. 13. Final results are weighted to correct known demographic discrepancies based on age, gender, race, education and region. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.2 percent for all respondents, plus or minus 3.6 percent for registered voters and plus or minus 4.3 percent for likely voters. More information on the poll methodology, as well as detailed polling data, is available at www.uml.edu/polls.
About UMass Lowell
UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 17,500 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers. www.uml.edu
Odyssey is the social media platform that democratizes how news and other content is created and consumed, enriching people’s lives with new, honest, meaningful ideas. Launched in 2014, the platform empowers more than 14,000 local, millennial creators to express what’s important to them and share it organically across their own social networks. As a result, Odyssey exposes its readers—more than 30 million strong and growing rapidly—to broader, more honest perspectives on topics they care about. For advertisers, that means building relationships with more engaged audiences. For more information, visit http://www.theodysseyonline.com.