Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump wipes away Hillary Clinton’s troubles with millennials: New poll shows Clinton sweeping young voters by larger margins than Obama won in 2008

Another poll shows Clinton winning Latino voters against Trump by greater margins than Obama won against McCain


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Sophia Tesfaye
April 26, 2016 3:49pm (UTC)

Donald Trump may have finally hit 50 percent support from his own party for the first time, but a new poll out this week finds the Republican frontrunner so deeply unpopular with Latino and young voters that he could swing record turnout against him -- handing the eventual Democratic nominee greater margins of support than even Barack Obama's historic 2008 win.

While young voters have overwhelmingly backed Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, according to a poll released Monday by Harvard University's Institute of Politics, although the Vermont Independent remains the only presidential candidate with favorable ratings, even Hillary Clinton would crush Trump in November amongst 18- to 29-year-old voters. And while the same poll conducted a year ago with generic Republican and Democratic candidates found so-called millennial voters preferred a generic Democrat to a Republican by a 55 to 40 percent margin, when Clinton and Trump were named as the candidates in this year's poll, that Democratic lead extended to a whopping 36 points. Furthermore, Clinton only performs about 8 points better against Trump than she does against a generic Republican candidate.

By contrast, Obama won the youth vote against Arizona Senator John McCain in 2008 by nearly two-thirds -- 66 percent to McCain's 32 percent -- a 34 point differential.

"I do think that Donald Trump is doing as much for the Democratic nominee as George W. Bush did for Obama in 2008. No question about it," said John Della Volpe, polling director at Harvard's Institute of Politics, noting that Trump gets just 60 percent the support of Republican millennials who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012.

And according to Harvard's poll, while Clinton's Democratic primary rival has consistently garnered 70-80 percent support with young voters, 80 percent of those who view Sanders favorably say they would vote for Clinton if she were to become the eventual nominee.

The findings reflect a poll released in March from USA Today/Rock the Vote that showed Clinton beating Trump by a margin of 52-19 percent among voters under the age of 35. This, as a new Latino Decisions poll released last week finds Trump only garnering 11 percent support from Hispanic voters against Clinton's 76 percent support. In 2012, President Obama beat Romney with Hispanic voters -- 71 percent to 27 percent.

Still, while most general election match-up polls this far out in advance are hardly indicative of the ultimate outcome, appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Tuesday to discuss the polls findings, Della Volpe credited Sanders with doing more to permanently affect the perception of capitalism than any other recent presidential candidate. A majority of America’s young voters now reject capitalism -- with only 42 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds expressing support for capitalism, and 33 percent saying they support socialism, according to Harvard's poll.


Sophia Tesfaye

Sophia Tesfaye is Salon's Deputy Politics Editor and resides in Washington, D.C. You can find her on Twitter at @SophiaTesfaye.

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