- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

GOP voters between the ages of 18 and 29 set turnout records in Tuesday’s SEC primary — a nickname given to Southern states as a nod to Southeastern Conference of college sports — but were less supportive of Republican primary front-runner Donald Trump than other demographics.

Mr. Trump still won the youth vote in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee — states where he was dominant on Super Tuesday — but by the smallest margin of any age group, according to an analysis by CIRCLE.

And despite winning a plurality of the vote in Virginia and Arkansas, the billionaire businessman lost the youth vote to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, respectively.

He also lost young voters in Texas by 13 points to Mr. Rubio, despite besting the Florida senator by 9 points overall in the state. Mr. Cruz, who won his home state’s primary by a wide margin, bested Mr. Trump by 12 points among youth voters in Texas.

Shannon Bell, a sophomore at George Washington University, said none of her friends are backing Mr. Trump.

“A good amount of them still believe his whole campaign is a joke and that he will drop out of the race soon,” Ms. Bell said.

SEE ALSO: Marco Rubio: Last night was not supposed to be my night

She said she opposes Mr. Trump because he is divisive and likes to “set people against each other.”

“In doing so, he creates a label for conservatism and Republican ideas that are so very untrue to their actual meaning,” she said. “That for me is the most important reason why I don’t support Donald Trump.”

The CIRCLE analysis shows GOP youth turned out in the SEC primary in greater numbers than in both 2008 and 2012, narrowing the gap between Democratic youth from 200,000 in 2008 to fewer than 30,000.

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