A recent poll indicates that when third-party candidates are factored in with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Gary Johnson holds a firm percentage of millennial voters. When we’re talking about 18-34 year old voters, Johnson holds 27% of the vote, with Clinton holding 34% and Trump holding 23%. Does this come as much of a surprise?
While in one of my classes today (American Political Culture and Campaigns), we discussed the debate overall, and then we got to talking about who we watched the debate last night with. It was overwhelming how many of my classmates’ roommates do not like either candidate who debated last night. It’s no shock that millennials are either voting for or considering voting for a third-party candidate.
The poll also found that the majority of millennial voters do not trust Clinton, and think Trump is racist. So where are the millennials, who at one point (and many still continue) were eating out of Bernie Sanders’s hands, to go? Do they understand that voting third-party could be seen as giving the election to either the Democrats or Republicans?
Millennials do understand the consequences of voting third-party, and are constantly reminded of them by their parents, friends, and peers. According to Emily Shugerman at Revelist, “That doesn’t mean the decision is easy: Millennials struggle with the idea that voting for an unlikely candidate is throwing away their vote. And even if they come to terms with this decision, their partisan peers will hold them accountable.” As long as millennials understand the consequences of their vote, then what’s the problem?
Many are saying that if this age group votes third-party, especially for Johnson, their vote will take away from Clinton winning the presidency. According to Politico, “‘Trump voters are mainly Trump voters, but Clinton voters are still not quite happy that they’re going to end up voting for her,’ said Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray, who has studied the role of third-party candidates in pre-election polls.” So Democrats who support Clinton should be worried about this third-party attraction for millennial voters, especially in Virginia where Johnson has gained traction.
Everyday I learn something new about one of my peers, whether it is who they’re voting for or why they’re voting for someone. It will be crucial to continue paying attention to the buzz surrounding this campaign on our campus.