Ipsos/Diane Rehm Show Study of Millennials

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Washington, DC- The findings for the Ipsos poll on Millennial Voting with Diane Rehm Show were released today.

  • Younger voters, or Millennials (ages 18-34), are distinct from their older counterparts on a number of dimensions, but strikingly similar on others.
  • In particular, when it comes to differences, younger voters are:
    • More progressive in their orientation
    • More likely to understand the American Dream in pluralistic terms versus rugged individualism
    • Less white / more non-white
    • More likely to support an activist state
    • Less likely to identify with an existing party
    • More optimistic about the future
    • Historically less likely to vote and less enthusiastic this year
    • Much more likely to vote for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump
    • And, more likely to use technology – especially social media
  • The key questions about these differences are:
    • Are these differences permanent – something ingrained in the DNA of this new generation of voters? Social scientists call these “permanent” types of differences Generational or Cohort effects. These differences tend to be more long-lasting and “sticky”.
    • Or, are these differences part of the life-cycle or a function of aging? Do voters without a job, or kids, or a mortgage – or who are simply younger – think and act differently than those that have these things? Social scientists call such differences age or life-cycle effects.
    • The answer is a mixed bag. Some of the differences, we see, are a result of the life-cycle, but others are real generational differences.
  • Generational Change
    • Younger generations entering the population are more progressive, more nonwhite, and less aligned politically than older generations.
      • The empirical data is clear here. These differences portend longer-term social change.
  • Life Cycle Differences
    • In contrast, greater optimism, lower voter turnout, lower voter enthusiasm, and stronger belief in an activist government all appear to be a function of the life-cycle.
      • Put differently, as voters age, they become more pessimistic, more likely to vote, and more likely to believe in a smaller government. But such differences are not necessarily the harbingers of longer-term societal change.
  • Finally, on several key issues of this election, younger voters are similar to their older counterparts:
    • Specifically, on the question of the main problems facing the nation, young and old alike believe that “economy & jobs” and “terrorism” are the most important priorities.
    • There is also little difference by age on two of the most important themes of this election year, with a strong majority of younger and older voters believing that “the system is broken” and that “there should be restrictions on immigration”.
      • Could these drivers be leading indicators of politics to come?

The topline results, data report and presentation are available for download on the right side of this page.

These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted August 19-23, 2016 on behalf of NPR. For the survey, a sample of 1,251 adults age 18-34 from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. This sample included 658 adults age 18-26 and 539 adults age 27-34. The poll has a credibility interval of ± 3.5 percentage points for all respondents and a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,251, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=5). Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, region, race/ethnicity and income.For more information about Ipsos online polling methodology, please go here: http://goo.gl/yJBkuf

For more information on this news release please contact:

Clifford Young
President, US Public Affairs
Ipsos Public Affairs

About Ipsos Public Affairs

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Ipsos/Diane Rehm Show Study of Millennials


Clifford Young
President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs