FutureTrack – February 2021
AUDIENCE:Race and Racism, African-Americans, Latinx, Millennials, Gen Z
Future track are insights about voters age 18-39 collected from reoccurring focus groups and polls conducted monthly with young voters age 18-39. The following key findings are from a national poll from February 14-20,2021.
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According to a new poll, Generation Z and Millennials – America’s most diverse generations of voters in history – disagree on several national issues. In FutureTrack, HIT Strategies latest poll of young voters, America’s youngest generations of voters expressed opinion differences that global leaders and the media often overlook. Despite the diversity in opinions, addressing systemic racism remains a top priority issue for young people of all backgrounds
“Young voters are the most diverse generation in American history, but far too often, they are condensed to a single column in a crosstab,” said Terrance Woodbury, partner at HIT Strategies. “We must disaggregate their opinions and treat them like a coalition of different groups.”
America’s Most Diverse and Complex Generation of Voters
Nearly half of young people in the country are nonwhite. This diversity drives vast differences in opinions on political and policy matters. In FutureTrack’s latest poll, Millennials and Generation Z voters expressed different political priorities, with further differences exhibited among racial groups within Millennials and Generation Z. Young white voters maintain political attitudes closer to older whites than to diverse communities of similar ages. Black, Latino, and AAPI young voters expressed more liberal attitudes than their white counterparts, but a pattern of different priorities upheld when comparing diverse Millennials to diverse Gen Z.
Racism A Key Priority for Young People Regardless of Race
Racism remains a top priority for young voters regardless of race. Addressing racism was the second priority for Gen Z, ranking just behind coronavirus and above climate change. For millennials, racism ranked third after the economy and coronavirus, respectively. HIT Strategies began tracking racism during the summer when black voters of all ages said racism was their race number one issue. In subsequent polls, racism rates high among young people of all races.
Differences Between Millennials and Gen Z
While coronavirus remains a leading issue for Gen Z and Millennials, millennials are more concerned with kitchen table issues, and Gen Z is more concerned with social issues. Millennials’ top issue is the economy and jobs, with 43 percent saying the economy and jobs are their issues. Millennials’ preferences may be explained by two historic recessions and mounting debt, including student loans. Gen Z’s top priorities include social issues. For Gen Z, their top priority is the coronavirus, followed by racism and discrimination, ahead of jobs and economy. Racism is a leading concern across all racial and age groups of young voters.
Both Gen Z and Millennials are politically active; however, the groups engage in politics differently. Gen Z is more likely to volunteer for a campaign, protest, donate to a campaign, contact an elected official, and discuss politics with friends and online.
Young Voters Eschew Democratic Identity
A majority of Generation Z and Millennials voters do not identify as Democrats. Fifty-four (54) percent of Generation Z voters and 59 percent of millennials eschew the Democratic identity. More than half of young voters believe Democrats take their vote for granted, and a higher number (64%) have not committed to voting for Democrats. The majority of young voters who identify as Democrat are nonwhite. Democrats lack a supermajority with Black, Latino, and AAPI voters and are below 35 percent with young white voters. The evidence points to a soft relationship between young voters of all races and the Democratic party.
“Young voters turned out at record rates in November to stand against racism, division, and to reject the politics of Donald Trump,” said Roshni Nedungadi, HIT Strategies partner. “In return, young voters want Democrats to address issues that are important to them. Keeping them engaged and involved will require candidates who they believe will address their top issues and priorities.”
As the largest voting bloc, young voters hold power to determine the outcome of elections. They were highly motived to oust Donald Trump but will likely need more motivation to continue their support of Democrats. To improve their electoral chances, Democrats must repair their brand among young voters. Targeted messaging and policy actions like student debt relief and addressing systemic racism could help repair the brand.
Young Voters Not Fully Onboard with Vaccinations
Nearly half of young people do not plan to get vaccinated (43%). What is driving this number is the belief taking vaccines is a personal choice, not a responsibility. Public education is required to encourage young people to take the vaccine.
HIT Strategies and partners are conducting ongoing (monthly/biweekly) tracking polls and focus groups of Millennials, Generation Z, and the racial communities who make up the groups to track, understand, and harness America’s largest and most diverse voting bloc.
- Recently, HIT Strategies released focus group videos with young voters ages 18 to 39, reacting to the Capitol insurrection, impeachment, and accountability steps for the events of January 6. Click the link to watch videos of the focus groups.
Why HIT Strategies
As the only Millennial-owned and operated public opinion polling firm on the Hill, HIT Strategies maintains an unmatched cultural competence when understanding, engaging, and communicating with Millennial audiences and diverse communities like African Americans, Latinos, and AAPI.
About HIT Strategies
HIT Strategies is a public opinion research company specializing in researching Millennials, People of Color, Women, LGBTQ+, and other underserved communities. We help our clients translate their target audience’s values, attitudes, and behaviors into real-time insights and messaging. For more information, please visit hitstrat.com. Follow us on Twitter at @HITStrat.