Guest Host: Tom Gjelten

For the first time, millennials make up as much of the electorate as baby boomers in this year’s presidential race. But both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have struggled to earn their support. Why? Compared to the generations before them, millennials are less likely to identify with a political party, according to an exclusive IPSOS-Diane Rehm Show poll. They care more about character, and, by and large, changing the way we do politics. As the election approaches, millennials tell us what issues are important to them – and what will motivate them to vote – or not – in 2016.


  • Clifford Young President, Ipsos Public Affairs, a firm that leads opinion polling for Thomson Reuters; adjunct professor, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies; lecturer, Columbia University School of International Affairs and the University of São Paulo
  • Juana Summers Editor, CNN Politics
  • Sarah Audelo Millennial Vote Director, Hillary Clinton; former Political and Field Director, Rock The Vote; former policy director, Generation Progress, Center for American Progress
  • Evan Siegfried Political commentator; president, Somm Consulting, a public affairs firm based in New York City. He's the author of "GOP GPS:How to Find the Millennials and Urban Voters the Republican Party Needs to Survive."

Results: IPSOS/Diane Rehm Show poll

Full IPSOS/Diane Rehm Show Poll Results

Our IPSOS-Diane Rehm Show poll surveyed young voters across the country. Read through full results here.

Young Voters: We Want To Hear From You!

We’ve talked about a lot of different voters ahead of the 2016 elections. But one group we haven’t heard from as much: young voters. So we want to hear from you directly.

If you’re under the age of 34, tell us:

-What issues matter to you?
-Do you feel the candidates represent what you want and need in a president?
-Will you vote? Why or why not?

If you’re under the age of 34, send a video message or voice memo to drshow885 at gmail dot com. Or, you can leave us a voicemail at (202) 854-8851.

We could use your input on air.

We look forward to hearing from you!

(Photos: Getty Images | Alan Levine, via Flickr


  • 11:06:54

    MR. TOM GJELTENThanks for joining us. I'm Tom Gjelten from NPR News. I'm sitting in today for Diane Rehm because she's on a station visit up in Baltimore at WYPR. Earlier this year, millennials surpassed baby boomers as the biggest living generation, but the youth enthusiasm that twice helped carry Barack Obama to the presidency has wanted. Millennials say they're frustrated with both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Many don't identify with a major political party and as we get closer to Election Day, they say they could still change their vote.

  • 11:07:27

    MR. TOM GJELTENWe asked some young voters directly what matters to you when choosing a president and here in the studio to talk about what we learned, what we heard through social media, voicemail and an exclusive IPSOS/"Diane Rehm Show" poll, we have Clifford Young, president of the IPSOS polling and Juana Summers, political editor at CNN. From a studio at WRTI in Philadelphia, we have Sarah Audelo, she's the millennial vote director for the Clinton campaign.

  • 11:08:00

    MR. TOM GJELTENAnd via NPR's New York bureau, political commentator Evan Siegfried. He has a new book on how Republicans should pursue the millennial vote. Hello to all of you.

  • 11:08:08

    MR. CLIFFORD YOUNGWell, hello.

  • 11:08:10

    MS. JUANA SUMMERSHi, there.

  • 11:08:11

    MR. EVAN SIEGFRIEDHow are you?

  • 11:08:12

    GJELTENGood. And as I've said, we've heard directly from lots of millennials who shared with us what they thought about the candidates and the issues this election. We're going to hear from them throughout the hour. We also want to hear from you. If you're a millennial yourself or maybe if you have a comment or a question about millennials, remember our phone number is 1-800-433-8850. Our email is -- what is our email? And of course, we're always monitoring Facebook and Twitter.

  • 11:08:44

    GJELTENSo Cliff, this is a big deal. A new "Diane Rehm Show" collaboration with IPSOS polling. Give us some of the highlights. First of all, who are we talking about here. What -- when we say millennials, who are we talking about and how big is that group during this election cycle?

  • 11:09:03

    YOUNGWe're talking about 18 to 34-year-olds. We typically call them millennials. In terms of the total size of that population, about 75 million or 31 percent of the adult population. So a big chunk of people that will have an impact this electoral cycle, but even a more profound impact looking forward.

  • 11:09:22

    GJELTENOkay. And what is their -- in sum, what are their views of this election and the candidates?

  • 11:09:27

    YOUNGOkay. So we'll step back a bit and we asked a number of questions, obviously, on our poll. We also appended with our other polling we do at IPSOS and demographic data. And the key question for me are twofold. We actually have two questions. The first one was our younger voters, are millennials different than older voters? And the answer to that question is yes and we'll come back and we'll talk more specifically about that.

  • 11:09:53

    YOUNGThe second related question is are those differences unique to this age group, to this generation, something about their DNA that says something about the future? Or is it just the young being the young? And the answer to that is it's both. Okay? And the profound...

  • 11:10:09

    GJELTENSo they're probably were differences between earlier generations and older generations in previous election cycles as well.

  • 11:10:15

    YOUNGExactly. And some of it, just the young being the young. The young are more optimistic. The young are less likely to vote. We'll talk about it later in the segment. But I wanted to focus on is, what is unique to this generation, to millennials? And obviously, there is a number of trends you can look at. I'm going to pick out three that I think are very important. The first, I believe, most important is that we're finding a profound demographic change in this country.

  • 11:10:38

    YOUNGIndeed, millennials are much more nonwhite than baby boomers. 56 percent of millennials are white versus 76 of baby boomers. So profound socio-demographic change. If we actually look at even younger generations, those between zero and five, it's about 50/50. So on the one hand, we have the profound socio-demographic change going on, which is basically conditioning our political world. We can understand the, you know, on the right, the rhetoric about the other and a fear of a changing America and on the left about an inclusive integrated cosmopolitan world as a function of this demographic change.

  • 11:11:14

    YOUNGSo that's the first important one. Linked to that we've found, specifically in the polling, is the conceptualization of what America actually is. What do we do? We basically ask a forced choice. We ask, in your opinion, what's closer to the American dream for you? Is it the rugged individualism where if you work hard, you get ahead or is America and the American dream about being inclusive and part of a heterogeneous society?

  • 11:11:42

    YOUNGAnd what we find is millennials are much more pluralistic in their outlook, much less of the view that the United States is about rugged individualism. The last point, I think, which is significant is that American in general is increasingly more progressive in its orientation in terms of social values, across a whole host of different domains, immigration, environment, gay marriage, use of marijuana, gender role, et cetera, et cetera. And what we find is is that the younger generations, more specifically millennials, are much more progressive than baby boomers.

  • 11:12:20

    YOUNGLet me give you just some data from the general social survey at the University of Chicago that has tracked a number of these questions over the last four decades. About 91 percent of millennials believe or support allowing a homosexual teacher in high school. By the way, it's a very arcane question. It's been around for a long time. We wouldn't ask it now, but we've been tracking it over the last four decades. Whereas when you look at the greatest generation, that is the generation of World War II, only 50 percent agree with that statement.

  • 11:12:45

    YOUNGSo what we're finding is profound socio-demographic change, increasingly less white, more nonwhite, increasingly more progressive in their outlook on social values.

  • 11:12:56

    GJELTENOkay. Get to the bottom line here, Cliff. Are they -- which candidates are the millennials supporting and are they more or less likely to vote than other generations?

  • 11:13:10

    YOUNGGreat question. So on the candidate side, a couple things. They're much more likely not to be affiliated with a party. About 40, 45 percent of them state that they're not affiliated with a party, compared to baby boomers which was about 30. Though they are -- they tend to be more Democratic than Republican, about twofold -- there's a twofold difference. Baby boomers are split down the middle. They're much more likely to support Hillary Clinton. In our poll today, there's about 24 percent, 25 percent gap in their support for Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump.

  • 11:13:42

    YOUNGThe question is, do they show up on Election Day, right? And historically speaking, younger people don't show up in mass in the same numbers as older people. And this doesn't have to do with this generation specifically. Just the young tend not to show up as much as older voters. Historically speaking, this age cohort, only about 38 percent show up on Election Day.

  • 11:14:04

    GJELTENSo the Obama campaigns were anomalies in that sense.

  • 11:14:07

    YOUNGThey were definitely anomalies and they were at the high of actually turnout. They were around 44 percent. The average is 38. The lowest during the '90s was around -- in '96 and 2000 was around 32 percent.

  • 11:14:19

    GJELTENOkay. There is a lot more to cover in this data. Something that you said that I think is very important and that is the changing demographic profile of the millennial generation and one of the implications of that is that race and race relations are big issues for a lot of millennials, including this 27-year-old Republican who left us a voicemail.

  • 11:14:43

    AUDIENCE MEMBERThere are some pretty staunch Republicans out there that are going to vote for Hillary Clinton because I've been a Republican for as long as I can remember. I'm 27 years old now. I was born in '89. The Never Trump Movement really encapsulates something else that I saw as -- working as a surrogate and out stumping for people, especially in the South and in the rural South, there is a fringe of the party and I won't even say a fringe of the party. I'd say a proportion or a half of the party in these rural areas that is totally based on racism.

  • 11:15:13

    AUDIENCE MEMBERIt's not ideological. It's not conservative. It's not based on policy. It's solely based upon blaming other races and other groups of people who are different from you for your problems.

  • 11:15:25

    GJELTENAnd that is from a 27-year-old. Unfortunately, he didn't leave his name. He says he is a Republican, but Juana Summers, he's very critical of Republican outreach to nonwhite voters and actually saying that a lot of Republican voters are racist. This is, as Cliff pointed out with his data, the most diverse generation that we've ever seen. What do we know? What have you found out on the course of your reporting about young African American voters, Latino voters and white voters in this election?

  • 11:15:58

    SUMMERSAbsolutely. So I spend a lot of time covering the intersection of race and politics and one of the things I've seen over the course of my reporting, anecdotally, is that the concerns that that voter raised are really front of mind for a lot of people. And I think that we've seen Hillary Clinton's campaign and Donald Trump's campaign, to some extent, in Republicans down ballot, I think, maybe perhaps have done a better job of this, realizing that they have to reach all corners of this electorate, so those Hispanic, Latino voters you talked about, African American voter, Asian American voters because they are such a large chunk of the electorate.

  • 11:16:32

    SUMMERSIn 2012, Barack Obama won 60 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds. That was nearly 20 percent of the vote. So having the ability to get to a diverse cross section is very important. And I think that the candidates are coming around to the realization that black voters don't just care about issues of race and policing, of criminal justice reform or things like that. They care about the economy, whether or not they're going to be able to get a job if they're in college when they get out of college, whether or not they're going to be able to provide food for their family.

  • 11:16:58

    SUMMERSSo understanding that, like, they have to approach these groups in an authentic manner, that response to the whole menu of issues and beliefs that they have rather than just issues that are specific to their demographic.

  • 11:17:11

    GJELTENJuana Summers is editor at CNN politics. You also heard from Clifford Young who has -- is president of IPSOS public affairs, a firm that does opinion polling for Thompson Reuters. He's also an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. And Cliff and his firm, IPSOS, has done a survey of millennial voters in collaboration with "The Diane Rehm Show." And Cliff, you say that you're going to publish the findings from that survey both on your website and on "The Diane Rehm Show" website.

  • 11:17:46

    GJELTENSo our listeners can go on "The Diane Rehm Show" website and read for yourselves what the findings of this big survey were. We're going to take a short break here. When we come back, we'll go to our other guests. We have the millennial vote director for the Clinton campaign, Sarah Audelo, and Evan Siegfried, who's a Republican political commentator and the author of a new book on how the Republicans can pursue millennial votes. I'm Tom Gjelten. Stay tuned.

  • 11:20:01

    GJELTENAnd welcome back. I'm Tom Gjelten from NPR News. I'm sitting in for Diane Rehm on this show today. And we have a big deal, a new big deal. We have an exclusive poll of millennial voters that has been undertaken by IPSOS Public Affairs in collaboration with "The Diane Rehm Show." And Clifford Young, who's the president of IPSOS is here with us in the studio.

  • 11:20:23

    GJELTENAlso Juana Summers, an editor at CNN Politics. And we have, in addition, Sarah Audelo, who is at WRTI in Temple University in Philadelphia. She is the millennial vote director for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Before that, she was the political and field director for Rock the Vote, which is a well-know organization to get out the young people's vote. And she was, for a time, policy director at the Center for American Progress, Generation Progress. And also, Evan Siegfried, political commentator and president of Somm Consulting. It's a -- he's the author of "GOP GPS: How to Find the Millennials and Urban Voters the Republican Party Needs to Survive."

  • 11:21:03

    GJELTENAnd, Evan, I want to go to you first. You heard that voicemail that we got from a young voter who says he's Republican, who was critical of the Republican Party's outreach so far to non-white voters. What was your reaction to that call?

  • 11:21:19

    SIEGFRIEDThat gentleman hit it perfectly on the head to be honest with you. He outlined the problem that Republicans have had. We've basically relied too long on Baby Boomers and rural voters to sustain us in national elections. We have not reached out to increasingly diverse communities and tried to get them into the fold. And when you have millennials, the most diverse generation in American history, looking at Republicans and saying, yeah, I identify them more as the party of the crusty old white guy than as a party I relate to, that's a big problem for Republicans. We aren't even being able to be heard by most millennial voters or even urban voters for that matter.

  • 11:21:57

    GJELTENLet's go now to another of the listeners or millennials out there who sent us clips about what they regard as important to them in this election. This one is Alyssa. And she is talking about a strong commitment on the part of her generation to morals. Let's hear from Alyssa.

  • 11:22:21

    ALYSSAHi. My name is Alyssa. I'm 20 years old and I'm from a small town in Illinois. And I just would say that the one thing that I haven't seen from either of the major party candidates so far in the election is, you know, someone who is honest. I've noticed a lot with Hillary Clinton, if you go back and look at, you know, some of her opinions 20 and 30 years ago to her opinions now. She doesn't really give an explanation as to why, you know, her ideas have changed or. You know, and I've also seen it from Trump as, you know, when it comes to the birther movement. And, you know, he didn't really give a reason during the debate as to why his opinion changed.

  • 11:23:00

    ALYSSAI really want to see a candidate who's honest. I want to see someone who, you know, over the course of their political career, has stood their ground on issues, no matter what's going on in the media or, you know, what's going on in the world at the time. And if they do change their mind, I want to know why. I want to know exactly what changed their opinion on some of these major issues.

  • 11:23:21

    GJELTENAnd that was Alyssa. She was one of the people who responded to our call out for comments on the issues that concern them. Sarah Audelo, you heard what Alyssa had to say. Her number one concern is honesty. And that's obviously been a big issue for the Clinton campaign. What's your reaction to what Alyssa said?

  • 11:23:41

    MS. SARAH AUDELOHi. Thanks for having me. Well, there's two things that I hear from what Alyssa said. Is, one, that absolutely acknowledging that opinions change. And that's okay. And that's something that I think our generation absolutely embraces is that, you know, we all have evolved on our own thoughts and beliefs and issues. And that's something that, you know, when it comes to someone like Secretary Clinton, who's been in the public light for a very long time, her opinions have change for -- over the last 20, 30 years, since she's been in the spotlight. And that's okay, one.

  • 11:24:10

    MS. SARAH AUDELOBut, two, we should do a better job about talking about, like, why some of that evolution has happened. I think we have and she has in many of the speeches that she's given, whether it's talking about, like, her first policy speech that came out was about criminal justice reform. Because clearly the bill that came out in the '90s went far too far and changes need to happen there.

  • 11:24:31

    MS. SARAH AUDELOBut the other thing that I heard, too, is that -- and this is something that we see with the generation a lot -- is they want to go in a bit more on the issues. They want to have candidates who are going to put different policies in front of them. They want to see their values represented in the candidates that are running. And certainly, when we look at a candidate like Hillary Clinton, whether we're talking about the issues that -- or as previously, are the beliefs that we hold as a generation, as a generation that is incredibly progressive, is absolutely diverse. That is what we talk about here at the Clinton campaign.

  • 11:25:02

    MS. SARAH AUDELOThose are the things that we are working to put out in front of the millennial generation and to share with the generation and to welcome them in to talk about, like, what are their thoughts and their feedback and their challenges that they are facing?

  • 11:25:12

    GJELTENWell, Cliff Young, based on your research, what can you tell us about, one, the issues that are most concerning to millennials? And also where does this priority on honesty fall in?

  • 11:25:26

    YOUNGWell, let's go to the second question first. I wouldn't say that millennials are necessarily more worried about honesty and trustfulness compared to other generations. But what we do know is they're much less trustful of institutions generally, of authority figures. And what I'm hearing in that call is actually not willing to give the benefit of the doubt. And that's a long-term trend. It's a multi-generation trend. Over the last 40 years, we've seen a wholesale decline in trust in institutions.

  • 11:25:58

    YOUNGNow to the specific issues of the day, this year, the top three issues are jobs and the economy, terrorism, and broken -- fixing a broken system, at least by our polling. And millennials are no different than their older counterparts. They're worried about the same issues. Maybe they articulate them differently, they understand them and frame them differently, but they're basically the same problems or priorities they have versus older voters.

  • 11:26:25

    GJELTENEvan Siegfried, would you agree with that?

  • 11:26:29

    SIEGFRIEDI would. I think the big problem right now that millennials really care about are issues of the economy, especially on debt. And when you look at the average millennial in 2015, they graduated with $35,000 in student debt. And Bernie Sanders was the candidate who went out and talked about it. And Republicans reflexively mocked him and said, well, your solution is bunk. And we should have been turning around and saying, here are our solutions. And that only pushed us away even further.

  • 11:26:56

    SIEGFRIEDAdditionally, there's a great deal of tolerance among millennials. And a recent poll from Suffolk University found that 52 percent of millennials found Donald Trump to be a racist. So that is the lens that Republicans are now viewed through by many millennials and Americans. I am very concerned about that.

  • 11:27:15

    GJELTENJuana Summers, you've been sitting here listening to the results of this polling and these callers. Your thoughts about the issues that you think motivate millennial voters.

  • 11:27:27

    SUMMERSI think Evan hit it exactly on the head when he mentioned jobs. That is the biggest thing...

  • 11:27:29


  • 11:27:30 traveling and talking to millennials and in conversations I've had here in D.C. among other millennials that I know. That is the biggest thing I hear come up is, how am I going to find a job when I get out school? How am I going to feed my family, for a millennial who has a family. How am I going to deal with the economy? One other thing that we haven't talked about in this session I think is really important, and Cliff kind of hinted at this, is the role of third-party candidates here.

  • 11:27:53

    SUMMERSThe other big thing I hear is millennials who are disaffected with the status quo, who don't cleave to a Donald Trump or a Hillary Clinton will vote someone else. We saw this in a Quinnipiac poll that was out this month that found that 44 percent of voters between the ages of 18 and 34 said that they would vote for Stein -- or Jill Stein, who is the Green Party candidate, or Libertarian Gary Johnson. That is a huge number. And I think that if I worked for either of the major party candidates, whether it's Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, that's a number I would be very concerned about.

  • 11:28:20

    GJELTENWhat do we know about that, Cliff? I know that you do have data on how many millennial, would-be voters, registered voters are inclined to vote for somebody other than Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

  • 11:28:32

    YOUNGYes. And it's not that different from the general population. So it's, you know, depending on the poll, it's somewhere between 8 and 10 percent. Millennials are not significantly different from the general population. Indeed, they articulate to themselves today as a protest vote. The question is, will they realize that on election day? And our historical, empirical experience is, no. Actually people state third party and a third-party option. But when it comes push to shove, when they go into the polling booth, they typically don't vote third party. And, excuse me, or -- not and/or but or they don't show up on election day.

  • 11:29:07

    GJELTENBut, you know, one thing I see here, you break down the millennial vote. The millennial generation is a big generation, from 18 all the way to 34. You break it down into two halves, 18 to 26 and 27 to 34. And the younger millennials, those at 26 and below, are much more likely to vote for somebody else besides Clinton or Trump or say they are than the older millennials.

  • 11:29:30

    YOUNGYes. And younger people in general, not just millennials but younger people in general, you can look across history -- the most recent history, the last four decades or so, younger voters tend to be less engaged, more alienated, less likely to vote, more likely to say they'd vote for a third party or alternative options. But that typically is not realized on election day.

  • 11:29:52

    GJELTENOkay. Let's now hear what David had to say when he left us a voicemail. This is David calling us from Texas.

  • 11:30:00

    DAVIDHowdy, Ms. Rehm, and the folks at "The Diane Rehm Show." Big fan. I'll try to keep this brief. My name is David Larson. I'm 30 years old. I currently live in San Antonio, Texas. I graduated last December with a Masters from Mississippi State University. I did research and I was a teaching assistant there. And as a TA, I dealt a lot with the 18- to 22-year-old crowd, the younger millennial voters that are just fixing to vote for the first time, and I'd kind of like to comment on the difference between younger voters and older voters. You know, younger voters, they want change right now. They want to see this paradise of America, you know, whether it's liberal or conservative, they want change now.

  • 11:30:37

    DAVIDAnd, you know, I've observed, you know, the Barack Obama Presidency and the Tea Party revolt against him and, you know, I got to say, maybe the thing that's hurting us is this need to just change things on a dime. You know, maybe our country doesn't work that way. I mean, I think back to climate change is my issue. We're barely moving on that. I feel like we had -- it had its moment and it's gone. And I mean, think of some of the other big things. I mean, I'm a big outdoorsman and the national parks, you know, how many decades was that in the works before we could get protections for the parks? And, you know, think about civil rights. How many decades was Dr. King and his predecessors working towards the Civil Rights Act?

  • 11:31:21

    DAVIDAnd, I mean, look at the Black Lives Movement matter today, I mean, are we there? No, we're not there. But we got to keep moving forward. And I feel like that's what frustrates me about the younger voters. And maybe I'm just an old guy at heart.

  • 11:31:36

    GJELTENAnd before -- I want to get Sarah Audelo's reaction to that. But before we do, let's play one more clip. This is from Teryl, who's calling us from Washington, D.C.

  • 11:31:45

    TERYLMy name is Teryl Graham and I'm a resident of Washington, D.C. I do remember vividly watching the Democratic Convention in 2004 and being inspired by the young state senator from Illinois. Barack Obama was a transcendent political figure. And, you know, since that period of my life, you know, I used to be so heavily into politics. And I must confess, I've become entirely jaded with the political process. And I've rid myself of any and all political aspirations. I've become a cynic.

  • 11:32:26

    TERYLAnd, you know, I've become a cynic since Martin O'Malley's lackluster showing. I flirted with the idea of voting for Jill Stein, as a protest vote, with the aim of fulfilling my desire to vote my conscience. However, after the first debate and seeing Trump beside her, I'm now being pulled towards voting for Hillary.

  • 11:32:49

    GJELTENWell, one of the themes that we are hearing in those two calls is the interest in change and the desire to cast a vote as a protest. Very quickly, Sarah, I only have about 10 seconds here, your immediate reaction to those two calls.

  • 11:33:05

    AUDELOMy immediate reaction is that young people have been leading movements for change for decades and that our generation is no different. And it's something that we should absolutely embrace instead of shying away from.

  • 11:33:16

    GJELTENSarah Audelo is the millennial vote director for the Hillary Clinton campaign. And my other guests here are Cliff Young from IPSOS Public Affairs, Juana Summers from CNN Politics, and Evan Siegfried who's in New York. We're going to take a short break. When we come back, your calls. This is "The Diane Rehm Show," and I'm Tom Gjelten. Okay, we're not going to -- we're going to come right back now.

  • 11:33:41

    GJELTENSo back to you, Sarah, Hillary Clinton, this has been, as those two callers made clear, this is an election all about change and protest. You have a candidate who is 68 years old and she's been around for many, many years. Donald Trump makes the point that she's been around for 30 years in public life. How much of a handicap is that to you, to your campaign, in appealing to these young voters who are so interested in change?

  • 11:34:12

    AUDELOI think there's a lot of opportunity here. And when -- yes, Hillary Clinton has been around for quite some time in public service. But we're also a generation that absolutely embraces and uplifts public service. I think one of the challenges that we have is to really show what Hillary Clinton has done in her life. She is one of the most unknown, known figures out there. So whether it's her working for the Children's Defense Fund, when she graduated from school, her, you know, speaking in front of the United Nations saying women's rights are human rights, to then as secretary of state saying, gay rights are human rights.

  • 11:34:45

    AUDELOThose were momentous -- those are huge moments in not only our nation's history but in terms of the -- in the world, frankly. But at the same time, we also have to talk about looking forward. And we have to talk about, what are the plans that Hillary Clinton has to make our lives better as a generation.

  • 11:35:01

    AUDELOI think we need to talk about how Secretary Clinton has listened to young people all up -- from the primary to today, about the challenges that they're facing and how they've absolutely informed our policy positions and what she plans to do for them, whether it's looking at the economy, which others have talked about, which is the number one issue for our generation, or issues like student debt, or issues that frankly a lot of young people have been organizing on the streets on, whether it's the movement for black lives or immigration reform or climate justice or reproductive justice.

  • 11:35:29

    AUDELOWe, as a campaign, and certainly the Secretary is learning a lot from the generation and they are absolutely making an impact in what it is that she is fighting for and standing up for every day. And so, for me, as the millennial vote director, that makes -- that gets me excited. As a member of this generation that -- knowing that we can impact the future, but certainly we have to do a lot of work to get out there and make sure that we are fighting for every single vote, which is what we are doing.

  • 11:35:53

    GJELTENCliff Young, as the president of IPSOS Public Affairs and the author of this data, what can you tell us about how much of a handicap it is that we have two candidates here who are so old?

  • 11:36:07

    YOUNGWell, that's a great point. Well, it's a -- perhaps it is they cancel each other out, right? Because they're both about the same age. But, yes. I mean, during the Obama years, we saw a spike in younger voters going out to vote. And the huge question mark in my mind and which will really, I believe, determine this election and the election outcome, will this younger generation show up en masse? And there's a lot of doubts there. There's a lot of undecideds among them. And neither side really engenders a lot of enthusiasm.

  • 11:36:39

    YOUNGIndeed, if -- we have a specific question that looks at barriers to voting. It was a question we put on the poll. And the number one issue side was, they don't like either candidate. And the second issue was basically kind of a feeling of lack of efficacy, that my vote doesn't really matter. And the key question, ultimately, is what will the turnout be generally and more specifically with millennials. We believe and the data suggested, if it's a higher turnout election, indeed if we're at historic averages, around 60 percent, that's a Hillary victory, a Hillary Clinton victory. If we go below that, we're getting into Republican and Donald Trump territory. So it's really important.

  • 11:37:15

    GJELTENCliff Young from IPSOS Public Affairs. And he did this poll with "The Diane Rehm Show" on millennial voting. Now we're going to take a break. And when we come back, we're going to go to your calls. And we have a few more clips that our listeners have sent in with their thoughts on the issues and thoughts of the millennial generation. Stay with us. I'm Tom Gjelten. This is "The Diane Rehm Show."

  • 11:40:02

    GJELTENAnd welcome back. I'm Tom Gjelten, I'm sitting in for Diane Rehm, and we are talking about the millennial vote in this hour, and the Diane Rehm Show has collaborated with IPSOS Polling on a new -- Polling on a new poll of millennial voters, and as we said before, the results of that poll will be posted both on "The Diane Rehm Show" website and on the IPSOS website.

  • 11:40:26

    GJELTENCliff Young, as the president of IPSOS, what is your website, by the way?

  • 11:40:29

    YOUNGWell that's a trick question, right? It's

  • 11:40:35

    GJELTENOkay, easy.

  • 11:40:36


  • 11:40:37

    GJELTENOur other guests are Juana Summers, who, she's the editor of CNN Politics, and Sarah Audelo, who is the millennial vote director for the Clinton campaign formerly the political and field director at Rock The Vote. And finally from NPR New York, Evan Siegfried, he is president of Somm Consulting, which is a public affairs firm, and he's the author of "GOP GPS: How to Find the Millennials and Urban Voters the Republican Party Needs to Survive."

  • 11:41:05

    GJELTENEvan, curious about your thoughts about the Republican convention. I don't know how many millennial voters were there, but how do you as a political consultant, how did you evaluate the Republican Party effort to reach millennials during their convention?

  • 11:41:20

    SIEGFRIEDWhat effort? To be honest with you, it was the missing of a golden opportunity to really reach out to millennials. There are many millennial Republicans who believe that the first step to do that is to take up the issue of marriage equality. It's a civil rights issue. Seventy-five percent of millennials believe in marriage equality. Of millennial Republicans, 66 percent believe in marriage equality. And of millennial Republicans that are Evangelical, just over 50 percent believe in marriage equality.

  • 11:41:48

    GJELTENThat's amazing.

  • 11:41:50

    SIEGFRIEDSo we -- yeah, so we're a very tolerant generation. What we could've done is adopted a more LGBTQ-friendly platform for the party. Instead we didn't. We remained more hostile, and that's how it comes off to millennials. It's as if we are becoming this intolerant party, whereas we absolutely could go out and talk about matters of education and the economy and win over millennial voters, but we're not even earning the right to be heard because of our lack of respect for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.

  • 11:42:24

    GJELTENWell, we have a number of callers who have lined up with their thoughts, but I want to get in one more clip from Katie, who sent in her thoughts about this in response to our social media outreach. Here's Katie.

  • 11:42:39

    KATIEHi, my name's Katie from Clarksville, Indiana, and I'm just -- I'm going to vote for Hillary because voting for Donald Trump is just outrageous in my opinion. But I'm almost worried what's going to happen if Trump doesn't win because the divide is just going to be that much greater. Everything that goes wrong is going to be blamed on Hillary, and we're just going to be back where we are in four years with some other wild candidate that isn't qualified for the job.

  • 11:43:10

    KATIESo it's almost like Trump has to win so the country can reset and move on from this social experiment.

  • 11:43:18

    GJELTENWell, Sarah Audelo, we've actually heard that. I've heard that from other young voters, who, you know, really want to just shake up the system, and, you know, like, as Katie says, maybe there are some out there who think that a Trump victory could actually shake up the system in precisely the ways that they want it shaken up.

  • 11:43:37

    AUDELOYeah, I would say that history has shown us that that is not real and would not happen. I think what we know about the -- our generation, and especially when we talk about the values that we hold, whether it's diversity and inclusion across the political spectrum, and this is why I think we see so many people rallying around Hillary Clinton, is that there is too much at stake with this election to have a Donald Trump presidency.

  • 11:44:02

    AUDELOWhat is going to happen to our community members who are going to be torn apart by his so-called deportation force? What is going to happen when he keeps pushing hard on this law-and-order rhetoric that is really tearing the country apart at a time when we were started to move forward on criminal justice reform? What's he going to do about the issues that we face in terms of the economy and higher education and student debt when he literally has no plan?

  • 11:44:25

    AUDELOSo there is just too much at stake at this election for folks to even think that that would be helpful, and I think that is something that our generation absolutely knows.

  • 11:44:33

    GJELTENCliff, what are you -- what can you inform us about?

  • 11:44:37

    YOUNGYeah, I want to step back a bit and give a 30,000-foot view on this election more generally. At IPSOS we have a database of 600-plus elections around the world. It's really cool. We do a lot of cool stuff with it. But it says some very interesting things. Basically 85 percent of elections are slam dunks or easy to predict, more of the same, throw the bums out. Fifteen percent are disruptive, past is not prologue, the voter calculus is changing, and this is a disruptive election.

  • 11:45:00

    YOUNGAnd what's the profile of a disruptive election? Typically the population believes the system is rigged against them. Voters believe that politicians and parties no longer care about people like them. And when we look at the polling data, and the polling data in our poll that we did with NPR, a super-majority -- super-majority percent of millennials believe that, as do sort of voters in general.

  • 11:45:25

    YOUNGSo the point being is, I understand what the callers are saying. There's a belief that the system is broken, and this belief is held by millennials, as well as older voters.

  • 11:45:33

    GJELTENJuana, we've heard lots of reasons why millennials in theory should be voting for Hillary Clinton here. I mean, the issues that she stands for seem to be ones that millennials care most about. This was a point that Evan made, you know, with respect to sort of same-sex marriage and so forth. Look at the surrogates who are out there for Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, all very popular with millennial voters. And yet her support does not seem to be nearly as strong as we might expect it to be. What's your explanation for that?

  • 11:46:11

    SUMMERSI think that this is a generation, and we've seen this in some surveys, including the one we're talking about today, as well as anecdotally, that this is a group, a cohort that is frustrated, that have a significant amount of mistrust of institutions in the political system. And to that impact, I can see an argument why many millennials would not support a candidate like Hillary Clinton, who some people have told me anecdotally they feel embodies the very system that they don't trust and don't believe in.

  • 11:46:38

    SUMMERSThat said, I think it's really -- we haven't talked a lot about Donald Trump in this conversation, although I would tend to agree with Evan's point that there were a lot of missed opportunities at the Republican convention, having been to both. Donald Trump is also not polling particularly well among millennials. So I think that you have a group of people that are alienated. Something that some to mind to me, I was talking to a voter on a recent reporting trip in West Virginia, and he said to me, if I wake up the day after the election, Hillary Clinton wins, my life is going to be the same. Things are going to be worse in my family. I wake up, and Donald Trump's president, things are going to be the same things are going to get worse for me and my family. It doesn't really matter who wins. There is a deep pessimism and a sense that no matter which of these candidate they support, they're kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place, and I've heard a lot of that from millennials who just don't like their options this year.

  • 11:47:23

    GJELTENLet's now go to one of our callers. Carolyn has been waiting patiently on the line from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Finally you're on the air, Carolyn.

  • 11:47:32

    CAROLYNHi. Thanks. Thanks for taking my call. I just wanted to say something that was important to my friends that I've talked to. I'm 30 and just had a new baby girl, and...

  • 11:47:40


  • 11:47:43

    CAROLYNOh thank you. Talk about taking care of women's rights as human's rights and families, I thought it was horribly offensive that Donald Trump plan, when questioned about it, said it would not provide the same amenities for same-sex couples, it would only be a very limited amount of maternity leave for women only. And then also, I will just say, your comment as to the lack of enthusiasm in millennium voters, I voted for Hillary against Obama, too. I'm a Hillary supporter. I can't wait to have a president who understands how hard it is to have to choose between breastfeeding your baby or going back to work. So thank you, that's what important to us here in Oklahoma.

  • 11:48:26

    GJELTENAnd we can hear your baby in the background there. Well actually, quickly from both Sarah and Evan because first of all, Evan, Donald Trump apparently recognizes the importance of this issue, given how he has his daughter Ivanka out there talking about child care. And Sarah, we know it's important to the Clinton campaign, as well. First to you, Evan.

  • 11:48:52

    SIEGFRIEDWell, I think to Donald Trump's credit, I'm glad he raised it. He did it in a ham-fisted way. I don't think his plan goes far enough, and it doesn't work as well. We are, as a Republican Party, are accused of having a war on women, and it's completely fictitious. And in order to take back that mantle, we actually have to talk about matters of child care and not only that but paid family leave.

  • 11:49:11

    SIEGFRIEDIf we look at, say, older relatives, when they reach the end of their lives, mostly women leave the workforce or take a lower-paying job so they have more flexibility in order to take care of that relative, and when that relative ultimately passes away, they can't get back into the workforce. While they're out of the workforce, we lose $33 billion annually. And neither side has really addressed that.

  • 11:49:37

    SIEGFRIEDSo I am glad Trump raised it, but he -- his plan, as the caller Carolyn said, it really doesn't -- it can be insulting, especially on matters of it doesn't cover same-sex families that have a child together. So...

  • 11:49:51

    GJELTENAnd quickly to you, Sarah.

  • 11:49:56

    AUDELOI would also say, but his plan doesn't just reflect families period, whether it's same-sex couples or the fact that fathers also want to take time off, which is what Hillary Clinton's plan does. I think something that's really important here is a lot of times people think millennials are just -- are a 19-year-old in college, and that is certainly part of our generation, but a third of us are parents.

  • 11:50:11

    AUDELOAnd so when we're talking about issues like equal pay and paid leave and child care, these are absolutely millennial issues, and those are some of the things that we are talking to young people about across the country because whether it's a new mom at the age of 30 or a mom at 25 who already has three kids or a dad who has adopted, or if -- I mean, we can just, like, go through all these different family identities. We -- Hillary Clinton is creating plans that best meet our generation where we're at, and certainly issues of paid leave and child care, like, that is what a lot of our generation is worried about right now, just to get by in many cases.

  • 11:50:46

    GJELTENGood. Let's talk now about advertising. Let's talk about outreach to millennials. This is the third election that we've had social media play an important role in, Facebook and Twitter ads. Both of these media are used differently by the candidate this year than they were in 2008 and 2012. Cliff Young, with your poll from IPSOS, what can you tell us about the importance of social media to the millennial generation and, if you have it, how the candidates are using those platforms to reach those voters.

  • 11:51:20

    YOUNGWell, it's essential, and if you look at the data, 90 percent of millennials use social media, whereas only 43 percent of baby boomers. So it is the way you reach out to the millennials and the younger voters. Specifically when it comes to the candidates, I think it's probably better to turn it over to our political experts. We don't have specific data on that.

  • 11:51:42

    GJELTENAnd let's go now very quickly to Susan, who is on the line from Michigan.

  • 11:51:48

    SUSANHi Tom.

  • 11:51:49


  • 11:51:50

    SUSANHi, Tom, yeah, I'm concerned what -- about the millennials and what seems to be their being uninformed on the issues and the candidates' stance on them. I consider myself kind of bringing up the rear on the baby boomers. I was born in 1960. And I think in the '60s, the 20-year-olds were much more informed on the issues, didn't treat the candidates as, like, a personality contest, just really knew the issues.

  • 11:52:30

    SUSANAnd I'm just -- I'm really surprised when I turn on the TV, and I see, like, a millennial being interviewed, saying that he wants to support Gary Johnson because Gary Johnson wants to legalize marijuana, but the person can't really articulate any other issues that Gary Johnson has. And then I -- I'm also surprised when I hear that there's like a poll that 44 percent of millennials aren't aware that there's a policy difference in transitioning from fossil fuels between Clinton and Trump.

  • 11:53:08

    GJELTENWell, Susan is a baby boomer. We'll hear from our panel in a second. I'm Tom Gjelten. This is "The Diane Rehm Show." So Juana Summers, what do you think? What do you think? Are the millennials like yourself uninformed? Are they making snap judgments about the candidates? Were the baby boomers, when they were that age, were we baby boomers when we were that age, more informed, do you think?

  • 11:53:31

    SUMMERSMan, everybody loves to talk about kids these days. This is a tough one. You know, as you noted, I'm a millennial. I'm also a reporter who spends a lot of time on the road talking to voters across the demographic slices. And anecdotally, I respect the caller's point of view, but I don't know that I found that to be true.

  • 11:53:46

    AUDELOI'm an editor at CNN, I'm also a fellow at Georgetown's Institute of Politics and Public Policy. So I spend a lot of time talking to folks under the age of 25 about this election and the issues that are important to them. And I honestly find most of the people I encounter have really spent a lot of time thinking about the issues that are at stake in this election, when they're a Democrat, Republican or unaffiliated. They're well-versed on the issues. They understand what's at stake. They want to talk about these things. They're interested, they're excited, they know what the candidates stand for not just at the national level but about some of the down-ballot races that are impacting our communities.

  • 11:54:16

    SUMMERSSo that hasn't been my experience, and it certainly doesn't reflect the conversations that I've had with voters or frankly with my own friends in my own local community.

  • 11:54:23

    GJELTENCliff, do you have a thought?

  • 11:54:24

    YOUNGYeah, the empirical data suggests that independent of, you know, whatever the year, whatever the decade, younger voters are just more apathetic. They're less engaged. They're less informed.

  • 11:54:33

    GJELTENNow is that a finding, do you think, that younger voters always...

  • 11:54:36

    YOUNGAlways are.

  • 11:54:37

    GJELTENAlways are.

  • 11:54:38

    YOUNGIt doesn't have anything to do with this generation. It is an age issue. The young are being the young, and we really don't find differences over time. And so what do we expect? Younger voters are going to be less engaged, less likely to go out and vote on election day, less likely to know the two candidates and the specific issues involved, et cetera. This is -- they're no different than generation from the past.

  • 11:54:57

    GJELTENI want to go to you now, Sarah Audelo, as the millennial vote director for the Hillary Clinton campaign. You heard Cliff a couple minutes ago talk about the importance of social media to the millennial generation. I know the Clinton campaign has been criticized to some extent for, correct me if I'm wrong, for its reliance on television advertising. Or would you -- how well have you done? What emphasis have you put on social media advertising in your campaign so far?

  • 11:55:24

    AUDELOSo any good campaign is going to meet voters where they are. And for us that means many things. One, we're going to be on the doors. We're certainly on the phones and texting. But we're also utilizing social media, and absolutely ads are going to happen on TV, they continue to happen on TV, but we're also going to -- we're also working to have paid digital ads because a lot of our generation, we watch TV via our phones, and whether it's, like, Netflix or Hulu or, you know, some of the clips that we'll see that are cut from what might air on a late-night show, for example.

  • 11:55:58

    AUDELOSo you're actually going to see us doing outreach there. But then of course we are pretty much on all, like, the major social media platforms. We were on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Snapchat and Tumblr, and that is just part of a good campaign is, again, going to where voters are. And for young people, of course you're going to see a lot more young folks who are absolutely utilizing social media and many platforms of social media. But that doesn't mean that we're ignoring in any way, shape or form knocking on doors.

  • 11:56:23

    GJELTENFinally Cliff, very quickly, if the election were held today, what would be the vote, do you project for -- from millennials?

  • 11:56:32

    YOUNGWell, the turnout we believe will be between the high and the low. The highest in recent history has been 44 percent of the younger generation. The lower has been basically 32 percent. We're projecting around 39 percent, somewhere in the middle. At the high levels, that's a two-point bump for Hillary Clinton. At the lower levels of turnout, that 32, that's a two-point deficit for her. So they represent about two percentage points in total.

  • 11:56:57

    GJELTENClifford Young is president of IPSOS Public Affairs, and his firm, in collaboration with "The Diane Rehm Show," did a poll on millennial voting. The results from that poll are on the DR Show website and also on the IPSOS website. Our other guests were Juana Summers here in the studio, an editor at CNN Politics. From Temple University in Philadelphia, Sarah Audelo, the millennial vote director for the Clinton campaign, and Evan Siegfried from the NPR New York bureau, he's a political commentator, and he's the author of "GOP GPS: How to Find the Millennials and Urban Voters the Republican Party Needs to Survive."

  • 11:57:33

    GJELTENWe should point out we asked for the Trump campaign's millennial vote director, but we didn't get a response. I'm Tom Gjelten. Thanks to all of you. Thanks for listening. This is "The Diane Rehm Show."

Topics + Tags

Most Recent Shows