OBERLIN, OHIO—Young Democrats in Ohio are pleased with the party’s performance, according to a survey commissioned by Oberlin College’s Initiative in Electoral Politics and conducted by American Directions Group. In the survey of 501 Ohio voters under the age of 37, Democrats reported that they are happier than their Republican counterparts with their national party’s performance on key issues.
Democrats are more likely than Republicans to believe that their party is doing “more for young people to afford a good education” (76% to 54%), “providing young people with health care” (82% to 55%), and “working to create jobs for young people” (76% to 69%).
Moreover, while most Republicans (60%) blame both their own party and President Barack Obama for the recent government shutdown, most Democrats either blame the GOP entirely (46%) or believe that both parties share the blame (43%).
Despite the disparity in party satisfaction, the study finds that Republicans have a slight edge in engaging young voters in the bellwether state. According to the poll, young Republicans were more likely than Democrats to have voted in previous midterm elections (70% to 47%), and are more likely to say they will "definitely vote" in 2016 (93% to 84%).
And in anticipation of Hillary Clinton’s potential 2016 presidential bid, respondents were asked to reveal their impressions of the possible future nominee.
Results show that Clinton’s overall level of early youth support, although far from overwhelming, is relatively strong in comparison to others vying for office in 2016. Of those surveyed, 35% said they would vote for Clinton, more than twice the number willing to commit their support to Ohio’s Republican Governor John Kasich (15%) or the state’s Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown (11%). Clinton’s early youth advantage could be related to her ubiquitous surname; she proved to be more recognizable (99%) than Kasich (88%) and Brown (87%), and more young voters are undecided about Kasich (31%) or Brown (49%) as candidates than they are about Clinton (19%).
Clinton’s stark levels of support and opposition among young Ohioans are split along party lines. Seventy-one percent of Democrats say they would vote for Clinton in 2016 while 76% of Republicans say they would not. Independents slightly disfavor Clinton, with 49% responding they would not vote for her and 23% remaining undecided.
Females are also more likely than males to support Clinton (42% to 27%), while African Americans (69%) are more supportive than Hispanics (44%) and whites (29%). Of those who say they will not vote for Clinton, 8% explain that their decision is driven by her gender while only 1% cite her age as a concern.
Between October 17 and 23, 501 registered Ohio voters under the age of 37 were polled. Professional interviewers conducted the surveys, and reached voters using landlines and cell phones. Quotas were established to ensure an equal distribution of respondents in terms of gender and party identification. It has a margin of error of 4.4% at the 95% level.
Contact: Michael Parkin, Associate Professor of Politics Michael.Parkin@oberlin.edu
Ph: (440) 775-6197
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