Student Voices: What Millennials Think of This Year’s Candidates

Young people don’t vote. This has historically been the mindset of candidates when running for president. Their platforms have reflected that, catering towards an older, more influential demographic. This election season the table has turned and Millennials may hold the power in deciding who our next President.
This is no small task, and at times can be a scary thought. It is much easier to think “oh my vote doesn’t matter” and bubble in an answer like any other test we weren’t prepared for than it is to realize that our vote counts and helps determine the future of our country. With that being said, our millennial generation has stepped up to the plate and is ready to start showing the world the power of politically active college students and young adults.

This has not gone unnoticed. For the first time in history, candidates have been appealing to the younger generations, even posting news and events on social media; like Hillary Clinton announcing her run for presidency on Snapchat. Twitter is become a major source of news for most college students and most support for candidates is shown through various social media platforms.

So now that the tables have finally turned, and our voices are being heard, what do Millennials think about this year’s presidential candidates and campaigns?

A look at any college students Facebook feed would show Millennials are “Feeling the Bern” and for good reason. Bernie Sanders is one of the first popular candidates to directly appeal to college students with his platform.

But are we really feeling the bern? Or is it just the most clever catch phrase we can get behind?

StudySoup surveyed 350 college students asking them who they were going to vote for in the upcoming election.

   As expected, Bernie took the lead by far, with the second closest candidate being Marco Rubio followed by Hillary and an ever present Trump taking fourth. Over 50% of students reported that this is who they preferred, but when asked who they thought was actually going to win the answers changed dramatically.

While Bernie Sanders had an overwhelming amount of support from college students, only 19% think he is actually going to win. Hillary jumped all the way from 3rd place at 11% saying would vote for her, all the way to taking the lead in who Millennials thought was going to win at 50%. Most surprising of all was Donald Trump, surpassing Bernie and taking second in who Millennials felt like would be voted into presidency.

An interesting division is brought to light through this study, that is many individuals in our generation tend to vote for who they identify most with, but they do not believe that their choice will be the winning candidate. This raises the question of, do people vote for who they personally identify with, or just who they think will win?

This could be the year that our generation’s voice is not only heard, but sets the presidence for how campaigns are run, changing history forever one Insta post at a time. So who are these Millennials? What is it that we want? Who do we like? Answering these questions will give you the inside scoop to whom our future president might be.

– Who we are

Millennials are defined as individuals born between 1981-2000, but many would consider “adult” or voting age Millennials to be born between 1981-1996. In terms of number and voter influence the power has always been held in the hands of the Baby Boomers ages 51-69 and have accounted for 74.9 million individuals in our country. Millennials are projected to number 75.3 million, being the first generation to outnumber the Boomers in decades. This projection is set to outnumber our Baby Boomer friends by 2030.

So take that in for just a minute, you my friend are part of the largest generation this nation has seen and your vote matters a lot! Who Millennials vote for and support could shape what our government is like for the duration of our lives.

So what are we interested in? What matters to us?

In past years, the younger demographic has been the least engaged in political activity Making up the smallest percentage of voters in both the midterm and general election. This is all set to change in the 2016 vote. In a recent student done by Niche over 20,000 Millennials were surveyed and asked how they felt about the upcoming elections and if they planned on voting. Of those surveyed 18,000 said they planned to vote in the upcoming election, or at least in the future. A quote from researchers at Niche stated, “Regardless of political affiliation or candidate preferences, Millennials seem to be increasingly engaged and enthusiastic about the political process. As new technologies make it easier for young people to be informed about candidates and issues, the youth vote definitely cannot be ignored by politicians who want to win elections”.

So if Millennials have the power, how are they using it?

Social media is the most influential platform for our generation both in how we use it and what we see on it. Statista recently released data showing the power of social media and Millennial use of it.

The influence of social media on Millennials has not gone unnoticed, with over half of the $1 billion budget on digital media being allocated for social media alone. Many of the candidates have started to gain a bigger presence on social media like Hilary Clinton and Jeb Bush would have growing amounts of followers on Instagram and Snapchat.

In an article released by The Hill reporters have claimed that social media has threatened to overtake traditional news outlets. So with Millennials shaking up how campaigns have traditionally been run, what does this mean for the candidates? And who do we want to be our next president?

-Who We Want

If you are a Millennial reading this ask yourself the question, who do you want to be our next president?

You may have a clear winner come to mind, or like many have stated this year maybe you have your bags all packed and ready to move to Canada if any of the candidates win.

Well don’t move just yet because it may just be your Millennial vote that makes the difference!

So of the top candidates Millennials say they will vote for are Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton for the Democratic party and Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

Many consider both Sanders’ democratic socialism and Trump’s extreme and blunt platforms to be extreme for the United States. While it may seem like a big change if either of these candidates were elected that is exactly what Millennials side with. Counter-culture sentiments are strong within the Millennial voting demographic, and Sanders and Trump embody the idea that drastic changes need to be made within our country.

While there seems to be clear front runners for the Millennial population many are voting independent, no longer supporting a two-party system that our country had operated on for many years.

So with this year’s presidency up for grabs, what are students saying on social media about our candidates…

-What We Want

Well don’t pack up just yet, your vote is needed and can make a difference in the next four years of our country.

Many of the very reasons citizens are frustrated with their government can be changed depending on who is elected in the 2016 presidential race. Change is just around the corner for future generations.

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