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Hillary Clinton and Young Voters

During the 2016 primaries, Clinton won young voters in just two of the 27 states for which we have data.

Today CIRCLE released a new analysis of Hillary Clinton’s level of support among young people, ages 17-29, throughout the 2016 Democratic primaries and considers her potential with youth in this November’s general election match-up against Republican nominee Donald Trump. The document reviews youth voting in 27 states where exit polls were conducted, makes historical comparisons to previous Democratic candidates, looks at polling data on young people’s views of Secretary Clinton, and examines how demographic and ideological differences among young voters may shape their support for Clinton.

Some of our main takeaways include:

  • Hillary Clinton won 20 of the 27 state primaries for which we have data, but won a majority of young voters  in just two of those states—Alabama and Mississippi. She won over 40% in just three others.
  • She received around 973,000 of the estimated 3.5 million votes cast by young people in those contests—a per-state average of 28%
  • Throughout the primaries, Secretary Clinton performed better with young women, especially young Black women and Latinas, and with older youth (ages 25-29). These demographics group may also be key to her youth support in the general election.
  • While at least half of youth have negative views of Clinton, many more young people have unfavorable opinions of Donald Trump, which suggests significant opportunity for the Democratic candidate to attract young voters.

The full analysis takes an in-depth look at all the data and provides the state-by-state youth vote choice numbers from the primaries. See also our recent write-up of the Republican candidate’s youth support: Donald Trump and Young Voters.