Youth interest in politics in advance of the 2020 election is higher than it has been in recent election cycles, a survey from the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University finds.
Based on a survey of more than two thousand adults between the ages of 18 and 29, the CIRCLE/Tisch College 2020 Youth Survey found that 83 percent of respondents believe young people have the power to change the country (compared to 73 percent in 2018), 79 percent said the pandemic has helped them realize that politics impacts their everyday lives, and 60 percent consider themselves to be part of a youth movement that will make its views known by voting (compared to 46 percent in 2018). Overall, young people in 2020 are more politically active than they have been in some time, with 50 percent of respondents indicating they have already tried to persuade others to vote in November (compared to 33 percent in 2018) and 25 percent saying they have helped register voters (compared to 11 percent in 2018). In addition, the percentage of young people who said they have attended a march or demonstration has increased exponentially over the last five years, from 5 percent in 2016 to 27 percent in 2020.
Respondents also said they need more information and guidance with respect to online voter registration and voting by mail, with nearly a third of respondents (32 percent) saying they did not know whether they could register to vote online in their state and approximately two-thirds saying they have seen information about absentee voting, with a similar percentage indicating that they know where to get information about the absentee voting process.
According to the survey, young people rank the environment/climate change (12 percent), racism (12 percent), and affordable/accessible health care (12 percent) as the most important issues facing the country. Getting back to normal after the pandemic (9 percent) and police treatment of communities of color (7 percent) also were frequently cited. In addition, the survey found that 58 percent of respondents support Joe Biden for president, 24 percent support President Trump, and 18 percent would not vote for either candidate if the election were held today.