By Jack Brewster, Forbes
More than half of likely young voters—57%—say they prefer Democratic nominee Joe Biden over Donald Trump, according to the newest Forbes Under 30 Voter Survey, Powered by John Zogby Strategies. But the margin has narrowed since our June poll, when Biden hit a record high 60%.
President Trump’s vision of America, starkly laid out at the August GOP convention, might have had some impact on his support among the country’s youngest voters—35% up from 31% in June—although it’s a net-zero from our January poll.
After protests swept the nation in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, Biden has seen his edge slip with young Black voters. The former VP now leads Trump 70%-20% among young Black voters—a decline from June’s 77% and an uptick for Trump from 14%. Among Hispanics, too, Biden’s edge dipped slightly from 66% to 62% in three months while Trump climbed from 27% to 32%.
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Overall, Biden is not performing as well as former President Obama in 2008 (66%) among Gen-Z and millennial voters, according to exit polls, although his numbers generally parallel Hillary Clinton’s 55% in 2016 and are just short of Obama in 2012 (60%) .
Showing signs that Trump’s base may also be softening, in the September poll, the president falls short with young white voters (44% to Biden’s 50%) and self-described blue-collar voters (39% to Biden’s 56%). However, Trump has improved his standing with young born-again Christian voters, leading Biden by 9 points (52%-43%), a twist from three months ago when he trailed Biden by 16 points among the group.
What’s At Stake
Most young people say they are “definitely” or “very likely” to vote this November, nearly double the 46% that voted in 2016, although they have concerns about the overall health of the American system of governance. Just 37% believe the current two-party system works effectively, while 52% want to create “something that works better.”
Biden vs Trump: Support among young voters across three different groups
Young people are also worried that Trump will not accept the outcome of the election if he loses. Only one in three (33%) believe Trump will exit the White House willingly, while 50% think the president will take unconstitutional measures to stay in office.
A majority of young people (52%) think they are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to contract Covid-19 in the next few months. Young people are more likely than the public at large to say they will “definitely” or “probably” (57%) get a coronavirus vaccine when one becomes available. A Pew Research Center poll published last week found just 51% of the American public says the same about a vaccine.
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Two in five say the economy opened up too fast, while 28% say it’s been too slow and 23% feel it has been about right.
When the pollsters isolated individual issues for consideration, Biden uniformly got better marks than Trump on: foreign policy (50%-36%), the pandemic (54%-33%), the environment (58%-30%), healthcare (55%-33%) and race relations (55%-28%). More young people believe Biden will be a better president than Trump at handling the economy (49%-40%), which is a departure from the public at large. The economy is the one subject where likely voters of all ages have consistently said Trump would be more effective.
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Forbes’ Under 30 poll shows Trump’s stance on climate change—he recently came under fire for questioning the role of climate change in worsening the west coast wildfires—could be hurting his standing among young voters. The poll showed that 68% of young voters see climate change as “very” or “somewhat important” in their decision to vote, while 62% feel human behavior is largely the cause of global warming. Young voters back Black Lives Matter by similar numbers, with 64% of young people saying they “strongly support” or “somewhat support” the protests.
The Forbes Under 30 Voter Survey, Powered By John Zogby Strategies, was conducted online on September 17, 2020, and consisted of 1,012 likely voters ages 18 to 29. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percentage points.