Look to Bernie Sanders supporters and third-party vote tallies if you want to know how millennials cast their ballots in the stunning upset for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.
Keep an eye on the Upper Midwest states as well as Florida and North Carolina. Did young voters fall in line with older voters in crucial swing states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania
Did those aged 18 to 34 even show up at the polls for the Nov. 8 presidential election?
These questions will be answered in the next few days as experts analyze voters who decided the outcome of Tuesday’s vote.
Millennials now make up a third of the electorate and represent as many voters as Baby Boomers. They tend to have an impact that’s larger than their actual numbers in swing states such as Florida and Ohio. They have the power to decide who becomes the president.
Fortune magazine wrote before the election that 13 percent of young women and 17 percent of young men across the country had said they would not vote for either Hillary Clinton or Trump. Don’t automatically blame the Bernie Sanders camp for the Trump victory, even though some former Sanders campaign volunteers urged people on social media to write in the Sanders name or choose other candidates.
Democrats devoted millions of dollars and thousands of hours trying to get Bernie Sanders’ supporters to the polls. The effort seemed to be working. A Washington Post-ABC News poll had found 82 percent of Sanders supporters were Democrats who were likely to vote and support Clinton, although only 32 percent of those said they were “very enthusiastic” about that vote.
Another survey conducted Oct. 24-27 by USA TODAY/Rock The Vote/Ipsos poll backed up the prediction of overwhelming Clinton support from former Sanders voters. Among those aged 18-34 who supported the Vermont senator in the primary, a majority of 64 percent said they planned to vote for Clinton and 10 percent supported Trump.
A third poll conducted by The Hill publication said Clinton led Trump by 53 percent to 17 percent among young women and 58 percent to 22 percent among young men.
Did those polls accurately forecast what happened Tuesday?
When the USA TODAY/Rock The Vote/Ipsos poll was released, an Ipsos Public Affairs representative posed a critical question. “The real question is going to be, are they as jazzed to turn out the vote as they were four years ago?” asked Chris Jackson. His organization found then that millennials were giving Clinton about the same level of support that Barack Obama won four years ago.
But early voting numbers from Ohio released a week before the election indicated a 3 percent drop in millennial turnout from 2012.
CNN’s early exit polls Tuesday night said Hilary Clinton failed to energize young votes to turn out and vote. Young voters flocked to Sanders in the primary and to President Barack Obama four years ago, but Clinton did not repeat that success. Obama won 60 percent of the millennial vote against Romney’s 37 percent in 2012.
Clinton scored 54 percent of votes cast by millennials, according to those early exit polls.
Did she lose critical millennial votes to third-party candidates in swing states that racked up victories on razor-thin margins? The USA TODAY/Rock The Vote/Ipsos poll found 8 percent of Sanders supporters said they were going to shift to Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and 8 percent would back Green Party candidate Jill Stein. Analysts will be looking at how much of the millennial vote was siphoned off by Johnson and Stein in the decisive battleground states.
“She did not come close to turning out the Obama coalition, and she did not form a coalition of her own. He tapped into the populist moment of Bernie Sanders,” said commentator John Heilemann on CBS This Morning.
The Clinton failure could be seen in a count from The Washington Post of almost 700 counties that sent Obama to the White House both in 2008 and in 2012. A stunning one-third switched their support to Trump, according to the newspaper. Trump also won 194 of the 207 counties that voted for Obama in either 2008 or 2012.
Clinton fell far short in flipping counties from one party to another. Of the 2,200 counties that never supported Obama, Clinton was only able to win only six.
Fortune predicted millennials would see the entire election as an indictment of the American political system and not just a referendum on Democratic and Republican policies. “After decades of failed wars and economic policies that have exacerbated income inequality and left half of all millennials living paycheck to paycheck, millennials have lost faith in our political system to solve their problems,” said Fortune.
Did millennials stay home or did they go to third parties? Were there turn out for Clinton or were they drowned in the Trump tidal wave? We’ll find out in the next few days.