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Young Voters Fearful of Future, More Support Clinton Over Trump


Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes a photo with young supporters after speaking at Fort Hayes Vocational School in Columbus, Ohio, in June. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Fifty-one percent of young Americans are “fearful” about the future of their country.

Nearly nine in 10 young African-Americans polled by Harvard said people of their racial background are under attack.” Nearly seven in 10 young Hispanics feel the same way, as do 45 percent of young whites.

These opinions are from a poll released this week by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.

One young voter told Harvard: “Everything seems out of control, and our politicians care more about themselves than doing the right thing for all Americans. We’re all extremely divided, and very few seem to have any interest in trying to unite us.”

Some young adults questioned by Harvard appear to share an important opinion with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump -- that the system is “rigged” against average Americans.

Most Young Voters Support Clinton

But the Harvard poll found most young Americans, aged 18 to 29, are not supporting Trump for president.

Nearly half of likely young voters, or 49 percent, said they will vote for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate for president. The Harvard poll found 21 percent of likely voters support Trump, the Republican candidate for president.

While over half of young Americans are fearful about America’s future, many are hopeful about their own financial futures.

The young voters were asked by Harvard how they will be doing when they are their parents’ age. Forty-one percent said they expect to be better off financially. Only 14 percent said they would be worse off.

Opinions of Clinton and Trump

Harvard said 40 percent of young voters have a positive opinion of Clinton and 53 percent a negative opinion. For Trump, 19 percent said they have a positive opinion, while 73 percent have a negative opinion.

Donald Trump arrives for North Carolina speech.
Donald Trump arrives for North Carolina speech.

What Trump and Clinton Supporters Say

Two young voters -- one supporting Trump and the other Clinton -- spoke to VOA about the election.

Nathaniel White, a recent graduate of the University of North Alabama, is leading Alabama college Republicans for Trump. White said that support for Trump does not mean young Republicans are happy with recorded comments by Trump in 2005 about women.

Nathaniel White
Nathaniel White

In the recently released recording, Trump talks in an offensive way about women.

But White said America is electing a president to move America ahead economically and keep it safe, not someone to be a role model.

“We are looking at someone to lead us into a better position,” White said. “We are looking at 2,000 federal appointments, including the Supreme Court, by the next president. That has to be our biggest concern.”

Conrad Zbikowski is a senior at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. He is leading college Democratic efforts in Minnesota to elect Hillary Clinton.

Conrad Zbikowski
Conrad Zbikowski

​Zbikowski said most young people who supported Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination are now for Clinton. Many Republicans at his college are undecided or are voting for Clinton, he said.

“I think millennials have a lot of stresses -- trying to find a good paying job because we owe so much in student loans,” Zbikowski said. “We are looking for someone who can make college more affordable and reduce the interest on student loans and move the country forward. That person is clearly Hillary Clinton.”

Nearly Half Young People Will ‘Definitely” Vote

Harvard Institute of Politics Polling Director John Della Volpe said 49 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds said they will “definitely” be voting. That is about the same percentage that told Harvard they would definitely vote in 2012, when Barack Obama won a second term.

“Young voters are fearful about the future of America, and that is moving them to action,” Della Volpe said.

Here is what one young voter told Harvard:

“People are not kind anymore and would rather hurt than help. People are selfish and are only looking out for themselves. The leaders running for election are showing the rest of us what the future will look like. I do not want them as role models for the future of America.”

I'm Bruce Alpert.

Bruce Alpert reported this story for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section and share your views on our Facebook Page.

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Words in this Story

poll - v. to ask people a question or a series of questions in order to get information about what most people think about something

background - n. a person’s experiences, knowledge and ethnic background

rig - v. to control or affect something in a dishonest way

role model - n. someone who another person admires and tries to be like

millennial - n. a person, according to Pew Research Center, born after 1980

stress - n. a state of mental tension and worry caused by problems in your life, work

positive - adj. good or useful; thinking about the good qualities of someone or something

negative - adj. harm or harmful; thinking about the bad qualities of someone or something

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