Only 28 percent of young adults ages 18-29 say they are “absolutely certain” of voting in the 2018 midterm elections, according to a new survey.
On the other hand, the Public Religion Research Institute (PPRI) and The Atlantic also found that 74 percent of seniors said they are “absolutely certain” about voting in the midterm elections, in what the survey-takers described as a “massive” generational gap in voting intent.
Overall, half of Americans are “absolutely certain” about voting in the midterm elections, which is about the same compared to the 2014 midterm elections.
According to the poll, young adults are less likely than seniors to be consistent voters, in line with the historic trend, as only 15 percent of young adults say that they consistently vote.
The survey results come amid young voters distancing themselves from the Democratic Party, as a Reuters poll found that 46 percent of voters ages 18-34 prefer Democrats over Republicans, versus about 55 percent in 2016.
With this in mind, only 28 percent of young adults have a favorable view of President Trump, versus 53 percent of seniors who view the president favorably.
Young adults such as gun-control activist David Hogg, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student, have been leading the effort to get the younger generation to vote. Mr. Hogg says that the only way that gun control can pass is if all lawmakers who are affiliated with the National Rifle Association are voted out.
Mr. Hogg partnered with HeadCount, an organization which has registered almost a half-million voters since 2004, in an effort to help high schoolers’ register to vote.
Even with the increased voter registration efforts by people like Mr. Hogg, Donald P. Haider-Markel, chairman of the political science department at the University of Kansas, said that he does not think this will translate to a massive youth vote, as they are not “especially motivated” to vote in a midterm election.
Mr. Markel said that Americans should question the PPRI poll, since the midterm elections are still months away, and says he’d be interested to see what these numbers look like in September.
Even though Mr. Markel says that it may be too early to project the participation rate of young adults in the midterm elections, he says that there likely will be a sizable gap between young voters and older voters.
“Historically, even in presidential elections, [the youth vote] is not a reliable group,” Mr. Markel said. “Most election cycles, that’s the group least likely to turn out.”