At the beginning of the US election process (doesn’t that feel like a long time ago now?!) there were lots of discussion about the youth vote, generated by the surprising, enormous appeal of Bernie Sanders. Now that Hillary Clinton has seized the Democratic nomination, there is a fear that these young Sanders fans aren’t enthusiastically transitioning to support her. That worry seems well-founded when you consider that Democrats’ main rival among youth isn’t Republicans—it’s disengagement.
Kantar Futures has used their TRU Youth MONITOR to ask US respondents aged 12- to 19-year-old (known as Centennials) questions about political identity, party affinity and political ideology. The data shows that the Democratic party enjoys the support of 34% of Centennials, while liberalism—the party’s foundational ideology—only gets the support of 24% of 12-19 year olds. This suggests the Democratic “brand” enjoys a 10-point premium over its liberal ideology.
The Republican party faces a different reality: the Republican “brand” takes a seven-point penalty compared to an unbranded conservative ideology. Not only does the Republican party face headwinds among youth, the brand gap has widened in recent years. This is noteworthy as teens actually tend to lean a bit more conservative—ideologically and practically—than twenty-somethings.
Our data shows, generally, when Democrats get a boost in support, it comes from previously disengaged teens. And when Democrats lose support, it typically migrates to the “don’t know/don’t care” group.
Of course, for the 2016 election, many of the young people we polled can’t vote, but whichever party wins they’re going to be interested in how to engage with these centennials in the future.
Source: Kantar Futures