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Hillary Clinton’s Coalition of Young Supporters is as Large as Barack Obama’s in 2012, but Includes Fewer Young Adults of Color

Press Release


CHICAGO, Oct. 24, 2016—A new GenForward survey released today reveals that support for Hillary Clinton among young white adults has increased in the past month and that she is now positioned to win a similar percentage of young voters to that of Barack Obama in 2012 (60 percent). However, Clinton’s coalition includes more young whites and fewer African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latino/as.

The GenForward survey from the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research examines how young people feel about the 2016 presidential campaign and provides the only source of comprehensive data on how young people perceive the candidates.

In the past month, support for Clinton among young whites has gone from being about even with support for Donald Trump to now having a 35 percent to 21 percent edge over the Republican candidate. Clinton also leads Trump among young whites likely to vote (51 percent vs. 23 percent).

In addition, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latino/as continue to be more likely to favor Clinton over Trump.

“Overall, the level of youth support for Hillary Clinton looks nearly identical to youth support for Barack Obama in 2012,” said Cathy Cohen, a professor of political science and founder of the Black Youth Project and GenForward survey at the University of Chicago. “However, the coalition of young voters supporting Clinton is not the same as the coalition that helped elect Obama in 2012.”

The survey results also highlight how young people’s attitudes toward recent presidential campaign controversies are largely based on which candidate they support.

Majorities of young people of all races and ethnicities say Clinton’s description of Trump’s supporters as “deplorable” is mostly accurate, with Clinton backers more likely than Trump supporters to think it is accurate. Likewise, about 9 in 10 Clinton supporters across all racial and ethnic groups say Trump referring to a former Miss Universe as “Miss Piggy” makes them less likely to vote for him, while fewer Trump supporters are impacted by it. Yet, even among Trump’s own supporters, about half say these comments make them less likely to vote for him.

However, there is little difference in attitudes toward Trump among young adults who took the survey before the release of an Access Hollywood video in which Trump describes his treatment of women, and those who took the survey after the release of the tape on October 7. The fact that there is little difference in the responses of young adults pre- and post-video suggests that Trump’s earlier remarks about women had already had an impact on young voters.

Some of the key findings from the nationally representative survey of young people age 18-30:

  • Support for Hillary Clinton among young whites has increased in the last month. After being about even with Trump in September, Clinton now has a 35 percent to 21 percent advantage over Trump among all young whites, and a 51 percent to 23 percent edge with likely voters.
  • Young African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latino/as are more likely to favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, though support among Latino/as continues to lag behind other racial and ethnic minority groups.
  • Hillary Clinton is receiving support from about the same percentage of young people who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 (60 percent), but Clinton’s coalition includes more white young adults and fewer young people of color than Obama’s coalition four years ago.
  • Third-party candidates Gary Johnson and Jill Stein continue to receive limited support from young people, especially young people of color.
  • Majorities of young adults in every racial and ethnic group believe that Hillary Clinton’s description of Donald Trump’s supporters as “deplorable” is mostly accurate.
  • Although majorities of young people of all races and ethnicities say they are less likely to vote for Donald Trump because of the accusation he referred to a former Miss Universe as “Missy Piggy,” many Trump supporters say such accusations will not impact their support.

“As we get closer to the end of this historic election season, we have seen in four GenForward surveys that there are serious racial and ethnic differences in young people’s views on which candidates they support, police brutality, race relations, economic security, student debt, and a number of other important issues,” said Trevor Tompson, director of The AP-NORC Center. “What remains to be seen is whether and how young people’s attitudes on these issues continue to evolve under a new presidential administration, which is why we will continue to monitor these issues going forward.”

About the Survey
Data come from GenForward, a survey of the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, with a nationally representative sample of 1,832 adults age 18-30 years old. Interviews were completed online and using landlines and cell phones from October 1-14, 2016. Results have a margin of sampling error of +/- 3.8 percentage points. More information about the survey and reports can be found at

The proper description of the survey’s authorship is as follows: GenForward is a survey of the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

About the Black Youth Project
The Black Youth Project (BYP) began as a national survey research project led by Dr. Cathy Cohen in 2005 and has since grown into an organization committed to: 1) producing research about the ideas, attitudes, decision-making, and lived experiences of youth and young adults, especially from communities of color, 2) amplifying the perspectives of young people daily without censorship or control via the BYP website, and 3) providing resources to encourage civic engagement and media literacy among youth and young adults.

BYP has both developed and fielded new national surveys that provide insight into the concerns of young Americans, detailing their policy preferences, participatory practices, and views about their communities and the country. Recent media citations include MSNBC, Politico, CNN, National Public Radio, The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Associated Press, and Reuters

About The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research
The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research taps into the power of social science research and the highest-quality journalism to bring key information to people across the nation and throughout the world.

The Associated Press (AP) is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. Founded in 1846, AP today is the most trusted source of independent news and information. On any given day, more than half the world's population sees news from AP.

About NORC at the University of Chicago

NORC at the University of Chicago conducts research and analysis that decision-makers trust. As a nonpartisan research organization and a pioneer in measuring and understanding the world, we have studied almost every aspect of the human experience and every major news event for more than eight decades. Today, we partner with government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world to provide the objectivity and expertise necessary to inform the critical decisions facing society.

Contact: For more information, please contact Eric Young at NORC at or (703) 217-6814 (cell).

The two organizations have established The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research to conduct, analyze, and distribute social science research in the public interest on newsworthy topics, and to use the power of journalism to tell the stories that research reveals.