Although presidential candidates have been in the news for a couple of years already, 2016 is election year. Advertising and campaigning will ramp up as we get closer to significant primaries and the November election date. Candidates target Millennials as they make up the majority of the voting population – that is if they are registered and actually vote. There have been many articles published, including some of mine, that maintain that Millennials don’t have a great deal of confidence in the government as a means to social or economic improvement. They don’t trust the rhetoric of the politicians and don’t feel that their votes matter. The candidates, however, know the importance of their votes and are using every communication tool available and popular with Millennials to try to get their attention.
Millennials may be less engaged than earlier generations in the political process, however that does not mean that they are uninformed or that they are not interested in the future of the country or its leaders. These young Americans have been well-educated at great expense and find themselves underemployed or unemployed. They are beginning to understand, first hand, the impact that decisions made in Washington, DC have on their lives. If candidates desire their support, they must listen to them and speak to the issues that matter most to them.
Last week Ipsos, a public affairs research company, polled 1141 Millennials between the ages of 18-34. It’s important to note that 77% of those who participated in the poll were registered voters and 50% of them voted in the last presidential election. Although about 75% of those polled agreed that voting is a responsibility and a way to impact important issues, only 53% thought their votes changed an election.
When asked to prioritize the issues that the next President should concern him/herself with, the Millennials gave the following answers:
- Economy/Jobs/ Minimum Wage/ Paid Leave (35%)
- Education/ College Affordability/ Student Debt (28%)
- Foreign Policy/ Middle East/ Terrorism/ Homeland Security (25%)
- Health Care/ Health Insurance (24%)
- Gun Laws/ Gun Safety (23%).
The majority of those polled agreed that by 2030 the US should transition to mostly clean or renewable energy. However, this issue showed up lower on their list of priorities for the next President (13%).
From these findings, we can see that Millennials care about the issues that are significant to the majority of Americans. So if there are any presidential candidates reading this article, your job seems pretty clear – you need to convince this eager voting block that you are going to follow through with your campaign promises.
I leave you with the most promising finding from the Ipsos poll, 65% of those polled said that they encourage their friends and family to vote.
“Rock the Vote / USA Today Millennial Poll – January 2016 | Ipsos.” Ipsos In North America. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.