Will The Zoomers Show Up For Election 2020?

There are a lot of demographic changes happening right now within the country that will cause major changes for the nation. However, for now, the favor still restes with the Boomers for the election cycle. While Millennial are adults and well on their adult lives, Zoomers, or Gen Z, is another key bloc that may influence the election. However, as reported on by RealClearPolitics and Zero Hedge, the Zoomers may not show up.

First, the fall youth poll from Harvard’s Institute of Politics finds a significant enthusiasm gap between the candidates: 56% of America’s 18-to-29-year-old likely voters who support Trump are “very enthusiastic” about voting for him. This stands in stark contrast to just 35% of likely voters who back Biden. Those in Gen Z are generally not excited about the Democratic nominee and tell me that they were deflated when more progressive candidates dropped out of the race. Such low levels of enthusiasm may not translate to actually casting a ballot.

Second, as the American Enterprise Institute’s new “Socially Distant: How Our Divided Social Networks Explain Our Politics” survey reveals, just 7% of Gen Zers have a very favorable view of Biden while another 40% have a favorable view – making for a 47% overall favorability rating. While this is appreciably higher than Trump’s 20% favorability rating, it is anything but a landslide of support from younger Americans for Biden. My students regularly share the fact that they have trouble getting behind Biden given his history of inappropriately touching women and his less than consistent left-of-center positions. This fact, along with the Harvard enthusiasm data, again suggests that the drive to vote for Biden may indeed be lower than many narratives assert; candidates need to inspire voters to drive turnout.

Relatedly, the survey asks if it has been easy or hard to make a decision about who to vote for this year (2020). Given the polarized climate and the overall disdain for the Trump administration among young people, one would think that making a decision about voting in a few weeks should be fairly easy. However, 30% of Gen Zers and Millennials state that their decision was hard – this is significantly higher than their parents (21%) and grandparents (14% for Boomers and 10% of Silents) – and again provides a hint of evidence that Gen Zers may opt out of voting entirely.

Going further, when asked who they’d vote for if the election were held today, Gen Z is not uniformly in support of Biden: 57% would vote for Biden and 18% for Trump. But 6% state someone else and another 19% say that they will sit this election out. And compared to the older cohorts, this intention to sit out is very different: Just 8% of Gen Xers and 5% of Boomers do not intend to vote.

Moreover, when asked about how certain they are about their choice, those in Gen Z are less certain compared to older cohorts. Just 51% of those in Gen Z state that they are absolutely certain that they will vote in the 2020 election; this shows that Biden’s support in large numbers is not assured. In contrast, 71% of those in Gen X and 80% of the Boomers state that they are absolutely certain that they will vote.

Finally, the survey data makes it clear that those in Gen Z are politically engaged, but not necessarily with the election. Two-thirds (67%) have been following the election fairly or very closely, notably lower than the 88% who have been paying attention to the COVID-19 pandemic and the 80% who are following the BLM protests. Gen Zers are not ignoring current events, but they may be increasingly disinterested in the election itself.

All of these points are notable and worth keeping in mind, because given the nature of the race, while many have said that Trump is likely goin to lose, this is not necessarily the case, and as many have pointed out, including the infamous political activist Michael Moore, Trump has a greater lead than what it seems, and there is a strong chance he may win.

However, if Trump does win, the Republicans have four years of power. After that, the chance of a Democrat victory in 2024 is very large and has the potential to be a landslide election.

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