Now that Donald Trump is one of TWO major party candidates for president of the United States, it’s worth taking stock of his voter base — particularly the youngsters, who come November could be the difference between Melania being the first lady or just stealing the first lady’s ideas.
By and large, Trump is unpopular among millennial voters. But that doesn’t mean all millennial voters. For instance, in Mississippi, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, he exceeded or neared 50 percent of the youth vote on the GOP side, according to a voter analysis released by Tufts University in late June. And in New Hampshire, he had a larger percentage of the youth vote (38 percent) than the overall vote (35 percent). And now that millennial god Bernie Sanders is gone, could Trump court some of those youths since he’s also an anti-establishment candidate?
If you read this take on Sanders supporters, it will never happen. (There’s also a scary quote in there from a millennial who would have voted for Trump had he not picked Mike Pence as his running mate, and will now go for Green Party candidate Jill Stein. That’s a study in contrasts.)
So who are Trump’s young voters?
“They’re people such as Will Carter, 18, from Savannah, Ga.,” writes the Charlotte Observer. “He got the political bug early. When he was 8, George W. Bush traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia, for a Group of Eight economic summit. Carter was so taken with the trip that for his birthday party, he had a G-8 theme, complete with a birthday cake with flags of the participating nations.”
Holy shit, we kinda like this kid. What a weirdo. He probably dresses as Vladimir Putin for Halloween.
But what else makes a young Trump voter? How about a love for reality TV. The Charlotte Observer found at least one millennial who grew up watching The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice, Trump’s two shows, and has been “a fan ever since.” That was apparently enough to make him a Trump voter as well.
Anecdotes aside, the statistic often used to separate conservative and liberal voters, especially among youths, is a college education. That might seem like the dividing line for Trump millennials, but it didn’t really stack up that way in primaries in which the youth vote was tabulated. The Tufts study found that “young GOP primary voters were more likely to have a four-year college degree than the general population.” And the youngest of voters might not have a degree, but that doesn’t mean they’re not in college working toward that degree.
One thing’s for sure: Trump is hugely unpopular among young women and young non-white voters, according to the study.
The meat of Trump’s voter base, not surprisingly, comes from those GOP voters who are the most conservative in their views and most hostile toward immigrants and poor people — what the study called “Steadfast Conservatives.” The problem is that while “Steadfast Conservatives make up one of the two largest segments of Republicans and Republican-leaners over age 30, it is the smallest segment among young conservatives, and second-smallest among youth overall.”
It seems the anatomy of a young Trump voter is still up for debate. Studies and polls have their problems, and primary turnout is always different than general election turnout. The social media ground game might end up being the deciding factor, as it was for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, and Trump is hugely popular on Twitter. Plus, he has millennials doing some of that bidding as well.