Young adults are more likely to trust Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump on handling wages, income inequality and personal finances, but they’re divided on which candidate would better handle job creation, a new GenForward poll shows.
Young Hispanics, blacks and Asian-Americans favour Clinton on all four economic issues, but young whites are more likely to favour Trump on both job creation and their personal finances.
GenForward is a survey of adults age 18 to 30 by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The first-of-its-kind poll pays special attention to the voices of young adults of colour, highlighting how race and ethnicity shape the opinions of a new generation.
Some inferences of what young people seemingly think about the economy and the presidential campaign:
Clinton preferred on income inequality
The GenForward poll shows that young adults under 30 are more likely by a 29 percentage point margin to say they trust Clinton than Trump to handle income inequality, a major element of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ primary campaign earlier this year that received overwhelming support from young people. That preference crosses racial and ethnic lines, with young African-Americans saying Clinton would be better on income inequality by a 50-point margin, Asian-Americans by a 43-point margin, Latinos by a 39-point margin and whites by an 18-point margin.
Most young adults say efforts to reduce income inequality have not gone far enough over the last eight years.
Young people from each racial and ethnic background are also more likely to say Clinton than Trump can best handle increasing wages, by 22 points overall: 10 points among whites, 33 points among Latinos, 35 points among Asian-Americans and 46 points among African-Americans.
Young whites conflicted
Young Americans are divided over who would better handle job creation. Overall, they are split nearly evenly, with 36 percent saying they think Clinton could better handle the issue and 35 percent saying Trump could. But young whites are 20 points more likely to say Trump could better handle job creation than Clinton. Young Asian-Americans and Latinos are more apt to trust Clinton than Trump by about the same margin, while young blacks prefer the Democrat over the Republican by 45 points.
A similar divide emerges on which candidate young people trust more to improve their personal financial situation. Overall, young people are more likely to trust Clinton than Trump, 32 percent to 23 percent. But while young African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Latinos are significantly more likely to trust the Democratic nominee, young whites are slightly more likely to trust the Republican, 32 percent to 25 percent.
Three in 10 young adults, including similar percentages across racial and ethnic lines, say they trust neither candidate on improving their personal financial situation.
The results reflect overall support for the two candidates. While young people of colour are much more likely to say they’re supporting Clinton than Trump in the presidential race, young whites are about equally divided between support for Trump and Clinton. That’s not a new development — exit polls show that young whites were more likely to support Republican Mitt Romney than Democrat Barack Obama four years ago.
Young people are largely united on which economic issues they want to hear the presidential candidates talking about. When asked to choose which issues they found most important, top issues included reducing student debt (32 percent), increasing job growth (30 percent), increasing wages to keep up with the cost of living (28 percent) and reducing the gap between rich and poor (26 percent).
About three-in-10 young blacks and Latinos, but only about half as many whites and Asian-Americans, said raising the minimum wage was among their top issues.
Young whites were especially likely to say protecting the future of Social Security is among their top economic issues, at 26 percent.
The poll of 1,851 adults age 18-30 was conducted on September 1-14 using a sample drawn from the probability-based GenForward panel, which is designed to be representative of the US young adult population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.
The survey was paid for by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago, using grants from the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation.
Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.