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Findings from a Nationwide Survey of 18-29 year-olds September 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Findings from a Nationwide Survey of 18-29 year-olds September 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Findings from a Nationwide Survey of 18-29 year-olds September 2008

2 2 METHODOLOGY The survey was conducted by phone using professional interviewers September 8 – 17, 2008. It reached a base sample of 500 18-29 year olds nationwide, including 329 reached on landline phones and 171 reached on cell phones. There were also additional oversamples of 75 Latinos and 75 African Americans, for a total sample of 650 18-29 year olds. The data were weighted slightly by gender, race, age, party identification, and phone usage in order to ensure that they accurately reflect the population. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 4.4 percentage points. Questions marked with an * were asked of half of the sample. Also included are data from our February 2008 survey.

3 3 KEY FINDINGS Overall, the attitudes of young Americans have remained pretty stable in the last few months, but intensity has increased. They are more engaged in the election, more focused on the economy, and more solidly supportive of Obama. Democrats maintain a vote advantage at both the presidential and Congressional levels, but enthusiasm among young Republicans has caught up to that of young Democrats since February. Young people want change, and Obama has an advantage there. Experience is still important but doesnt generate the same energy as change. The economy is their top priority, and young people dont feel like they are hearing enough about it from the candidates. Young people are really engaged in this election. They are talking about it with friends and family and opting in over the internet, seeking out information on their own.

4 Political Environment Young Adults are still change oriented and since February, they have become even more focused on pocketbook concerns like the economy and gas prices.

5 5 More than two-thirds of 18-29 year-olds believe the country is on the wrong track. The energy for change has remained strong since February. Generally speaking, do you think things in the country are going in the right direction, or do you think things are pretty seriously off on the wrong track? Among all adults, 14% say Right Direction and 81% say Wrong Track. CBS/NYT Poll. Sept. 12-16, 2008. N=1,133 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3. -43 February September

6 6 Across the board, young people dont like the way things are going in the country. Women, Democrats, and African Americans are particularly disappointed in the countrys direction, but even younger Republicans remain net-negative.

7 7 Since February, young adults have become even more focused on the economy. Their second concern is gas prices, also up since February and a part of their pocketbook woes. I am going to read you a list of concerns that some people have. Please tell me which one of these you would most like the next President to do something about? Among all adults, 48% cite jobs and the economy as their top concern, followed terrorism and national security (14%), and gas prices and health care (10% each). In Sept. 2006, the top concerns among young people were education and the cost of college (17%), jobs and the economy (13%), and the war in Iraq (11%). CBS/NYT Poll. Sept. 12-16, 2008. N=1,133 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

8 8 When asked what the FIRST priority of the next President should be, younger Americans are even more focused on the economy. The war in Iraq and gas prices also come to the fore as the most urgent issues for the next president. Regardless of who you plan to support for president, once that person is elected and sworn into office, what is the FIRST thing you want them to do something about?

9 9 Young Democrats are very focused on the economy, while independents and Republicans have more diffuse issue agendas, though the economy is the top issue across party lines. Cost of college is also important for independents.

10 10 Young people are firmly focused on the economy and believe they have not heard enough about it. College affordability, health care, and gas prices are also issues that young people are not hearing enough about. Here are some issues candidates for president might talk about this fall. Please tell me if thus far you think candidates have spent too much time, not enough time, or about the right amount of time discussing each issue.*

11 11 The issues what will determine young Americans votes in November are also the ones that they are not hearing enough about. Candidates need to speak to their financial concerns if they want to connect and help drive these voters to the polls. Creating JobsGas Prices and Energy Health Care War in Iraq College Affordability Homeland Security and Terrorism Immigration Moral and Values Based Issues Global Warming and the Environment

12 Attitudes Toward Voting and the 2008 Election Attention and enthusiasm toward this election has increased since February. Young people are talking about this election, and they recognize its historic potential.

13 13 Half of 18-29 year-olds identify themselves as Democrats, and about a third self-identify as Republicans. This Democratic advantage has grown from only +10 points in November of 2006. Generally speaking, do you think of yourself as a Republican, a Democrat, an independent, or something else? +21 In November of 2006, 40% of young adults identified themselves as Democrats, 30% as Republicans, and 23% as independents.

14 14 Interest in the election has intensified since the primary season, when young people turned out in record numbers. Thinking specifically about this years election, how closely would you say you have followed the election– extremely closely, very closely, somewhat closely, a little closely, or not at all closely? February September

15 15 What is the likelihood that you will vote in the NOVEMBER election for President, Congress, and other offices – are you extremely likely, very likely, somewhat likely, or not very likely at all to vote? Nearly nine in ten young people say they are likely to vote in November, with more than two-thirds saying they are extremely likely. In September 2006, only 69% said they were likely to vote, and fewer than half (44%) said they were extremely likely.

16 16 Republicans have caught up to Democrats in terms of their engagement in this election. In February, young Republicans lagged behind Democrats in vote likelihood, but now three- quarters of both say they are extremely likely to vote. February 2008

17 17 About a third would be first time voters, but two- thirds of adults under 30 say that they have voted before. Will this election be your first time voting? Most Likely to Be First Time Voters Age 17-22 (48%) Students (44%) African Americans (40%) African American women (44%) Unmarried men (40%) Not working full-time (38%) Non-college graduates (36%) Independents (34%) Independent men (40%)

18 18 Young voters feel more empowered as a group than they do as individuals. They also feel that the potential of electing the first African American president is more significant than a female vice president. Either way, young voters do see this as an historic election. Please tell me whether you agree or disagree with each of the following statements.

19 19 Women are more likely than men to see the historical significance of Obamas run, but women do not place greater importance on Palins nomination than men. African Americans have the highest sense of empowerment in this election and the greatest appreciation of its historical significance. %Strongly agreeMenWomen Age 17-22 Age 23-29 WhiteLatino African American As a group, young people have the power to change things in this country.* 72797477786881 I have the power to change things in this country.* 51475147514355 This election is an opportunity to make history by electing the first African American president.* 65767071696786 This election is an opportunity to make history by electing the first woman vice president. * 394241 444235

20 20 Among those who are most likely to agree strongly about the significance of Palins selection as the Republican VP candidate, Republicans, especially Republican women. %Strongly Agree Historic because of woman VP Historic because of African American President Women 42%76% Independents 54%68% Republicans 61%45% Republican women 68%48% White women 48%77% Rural 55%86% Married women 54%74%

21 21 Young people are talking about this election. More than nine in ten have spoken to friends or family about it. More than half have watched a candidate video on the internet, and more than a third have visited a candidate website or emailed a friend. Young people are opting into this election by word of mouth and over the internet. During election campaigns, people sometimes look for information or get involved in different ways. In which of the following ways have you come into contact with political candidates or groups in THIS election? Have you… Democrats (29%) are more likely than Republicans (17%) to have done 3 or more of these political activities.

22 22 In terms of news sources, again, friends and family are the most common source of information about the election and other issues. Young people also watch cable, local, and national television news. And contrary to conventional wisdom, less than half say they get their news from programs like The Daily Show. Now Im going to read you some ways that people follow the news and elections. For each, please tell me if you follow the news or the election that way. Do you…?

23 The Candidates Support for both candidates has solidified since February, and Obama retains his advantage on the qualities that young people are looking in a candidate for president.

24 24 Now I'd like to ask you about some public figures and organizations. For each one, please tell me whether you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable impression of that person. Barack Obama is the most popular among the candidates for president and vice president. Both McCain and Palin have net-negative ratings among young Americans. Never heard of/ No opinion 4% 8% 33% 23% 20%

25 25 Now I'd like to ask you about some public figures and organizations. For each one, please tell me whether you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable impression of that person. Among independents, Obama is also very popular. McCain fares better as well, with more than half saying they have a favorable impression of him. Never heard of/ No opinion 9% 8% 41% 26% INDEPENDENTS ONLY

26 26 Now I'd like to ask you about some public figures and organizations. For each one, please tell me whether you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable, or very unfavorable impression of that person. Both Obamas and McCains favorable numbers have remained steady since February, but negatives are up for both, with McCain going from a net-positive to a net-negative rating. Never heard of/ No opinion 22% 11% 24% 20% 4% 8%

27 27 About half of young adults plan to vote Democratic on the Congressional ballot in the fall. This is closely in line with their party identification. If the election for the U.S. House of Representatives were held today, would you vote for… +25 In September 2006, 43% of young people said theyd vote for the Democrat and 22% planned to vote for the Republican. February September +22

28 28 The Democratic advantage extends across gender, race/ethnic groups, and education levels. Most young independents are undecided but they currently lean Democratic as well. Net Democrat +22 +25 +9 +30 +19 -75 +6 +85 +69 +41 +7 +28 +16

29 29 Obama maintains a strong lead over McCain among young voters. While overall support levels have not changed, supporters of both candidates are more intensely supportive now than in February. And, if the election for President were held today, and the candidates were (ROTATE) Republican John McCain and [Democrat Hillary Clinton*/Barack Obama*], for whom would you vote, or are you undecided? +27 +30 February September

30 30 There is a gender gap among young adults. Half of young men support Obama, but nearly two-thirds of women. Independents lean toward Obama, but many remain undecided. Net Obama +27 +33 +12 +37 +19 -69 +8 +87 +91 +29 +12 +36 +17 Undecided 13% 14% 9% 13% 14% 16% 36% 3% 14% 3% 13%

31 31 One in ten voters who do not currently support McCain say there is a fair chance that they will support him in November. For Obama, that number is nearly a quarter. Even though you are not supporting [Barack Obama/John McCain] now, what are the chances that you might support [Obama/McCain] in the election for president in November? Likelihood to Switch to Obama Likelihood to Switch to McCain

32 32 McCain still holds the advantage on experience and has narrowed the gap a bit on other traits, but Obama still holds large advantages on change and sharing the values and understanding the problems of young Americans. McCainObama Feb. +53 +26 -19 Net Obama Sept. +52 +47 +18 -16

33 33 Young voters want change. That is the top trait they are looking for in a candidate and currently Obama has the advantage on that level. But each of these qualities are important to their vote. 8.5 8.3 8.2 Mean

34 34 Obama owns the top candidate quality among young Americans. Change is important to young voters and Obama has the clear advantage. McCains greatest strength, experience, is not as central to their vote in an environment where change rules the day. Will Bring Change Understands the Problems of People Your Age Shares Your Values Has the Right Experience

35 Findings from a Nationwide Survey of 18-29 year-olds September 2008

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