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New Harvard Poll: Young Voters Overwhelmingly Democrat, But Young Republicans More Conservative Than Their Boomer Brethren

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Young Republican and Democrat voters are united in their dissatisfaction with Boomer politicians and overwhelmingly believe the country is heading in the wrong moral direction.

Those were some of the findings of the new Spring 2019 Harvard IOP Youth Poll, which was released Monday in anticipation of Tuesday’s “youth-focused” CNN town hall featuring a number of 2020 Democrat contenders, including: South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sens Harris, Klobuchar, Sanders, and Warren.

The results found that young voters are more energized and politically engaged for 2020 than in 2016. 43% of 18- to 29-year-olds, for example, said they were likely to vote in their state’s primary, a 7 percent increase from 2015.

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The poll also found that “The 2020 electorate is shaping up to be more progressive than 2016 on a range of social and economic policy related issues, including on health care, poverty, and trade policy.”

Since 2015, the number of younger voters who agreed with the statement, “government should do more to curb climate change, even at the expense of economic growth” rose a whopping 14 percent to 46 percent agreement. Disagreement for that statement dropped seven points, now standing at 16 percent.

A full 34 percent of respondents also think “protecting the environment” should be incorporated as a top goal of U.S. foreign policy.

Among Republican young voters, the poll found that on the whole they are more conservative, particularly on key social issues, than their boomer counterparts.

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55% of young Republicans believed same-sex relationships were “morally wrong” — 11 points higher than the overall party. Additionally, 51% said they wanted “more religious values in government” (compared to 43% of Republicans at large).

On immigration, close to half (48%) of young Republicans said new immigrants did more harm than good to the country, 9 points higher than the party as a whole.

Based on the results, young Republicans and Democrats seem to be more ideologically extreme than their older party leaders.

Another commonality between young Republicans and Democrats are their shared disdain for boomer policymakers (defined as being between 55-73 in age):

Only 16 percent of young voters agree with the statement, “elected officials who are part of the Baby Boomer generation care about people like me.”

The results were aggregated by Ipsos Public Affairs using the ‘Knowledge Panel Calibration approach,’ which interviewed respondents between March 8 and March 20, 2019. The margin of error for the total sample is +/- 2.64 percentage points with 95 percent confidence. More on the methodology can be found here.

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