Alliance for Youth Action and Civiqs release poll of young persuadable voters in battleground states

Significant findings show that the Trump campaign is reaching young persuadable voters with digital ads at higher rates than the Biden campaign in ten battleground states

WASHINGTON – The Alliance for Youth Action, in collaboration with Civiqs released the second in a series of five monthly polls that will track change in youth voter sentiment as it relates to voter enthusiasm, campaign contact, and issue priorities every month leading up to the election. 

The poll found that the coronavirus is the top issue for persuadable young voters; older Millennials are more enthusiastic about Vice President Biden than younger voters; defunding the police is viewed as the top way to address policing and the criminal justice system; young Black and Latinx voters think in-person voting is more secure than voting by mail; and the Biden campaign has yet to effectively reach young voters.

“With less than 100 days left until the general election, Generation Z and Millennials know exactly what is on the line,” said Sarah Audelo, Executive Director of Alliance for Youth Action. “Young people are motivated to vote and are eager to participate, but the Biden campaign has yet to reach out to a majority of persuadable young voters in battleground states. The Vice President must earn young people’s votes and that starts with making the case to them directly. Meanwhile, the Trump campaign is going after these votes and is successfully reaching them with digital ads. Vice President Biden must invest in youth voter outreach if he wants to win the largest voting bloc this November. ”

“Young Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents in battleground states have a high degree of confidence in the American voting system,” said Drew Linzer, Director of Civiqs. “However, it is important to note that young Black voters are most likely to plan to vote in-person. With the coronavirus as the top concern, it is imperative for young people to know all of the options for voting in their state, so they can vote safely in person or by mail.”

Here are the key findings of the survey from the Alliance for Youth Action and CIVIQS:

1. The Trump campaign is bombarding young persuadable voters in battleground states with digital ads while the Biden campaign still has a ways to go with young persuadable voters in battleground states.

  • The Trump campaign is blanketing young Democrats—particularly those aged 18-25—in digital advertisements. Nearly half (47%) of Democrats aged 18-25 have seen digital ads for the Trump campaign, compared to 24% of Democrats aged 25-32 and 17% of Democrats aged 33-39.
  • Remarkably, considering their preference for Biden over Trump, over half (51%) of young Democrats in swing states have been contacted by the Trump campaign or the Republican Party in the past month. 
  • Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden still has a ways to go with young swing state persuadable voters. Only two-thirds (63%) have a very or somewhat favorable view of the candidate, and 12% have a very unfavorable view of Biden.

2. The coronavirus is top issue for young persuadable voters this month. When considering how coronavirus has impacted their life, young people are more concerned with health factors than economic factors.

  • Nearly a quarter (24%) of young persuadable voters consider the coronavirus outbreak to be the most important issue of the upcoming election. 
  • Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents differ on their most important election issue. The coronavirus is the most important issue to nearly a third (30%) of Democrats, followed by ending systemic racism (19%) and affordable healthcare (14%). 
  • One in five (19%) believe that ending systemic racism and discrimination is the most important, and 16% think it is affordable healthcare. Nearly half (48%) list affordable healthcare as one of their top three priorities, making it the most prevalent issue; 45% ranked ending systemic racism and discrimination and 43% ranked the coronavirus as one of their top three issues in the upcoming election.
  • When thinking about the coronavirus, 51% of young Democrats are most concerned about the health of their parents (30%) or themselves (21%). This outweighs economic concerns such as losing their jobs (18%) or paying rent or other bills (12%). 
  • The youngest Democrats (aged 18-25) are most likely to be worried about their parents’ health first (34%), rather than their own (18%). 
  • Younger millennials (ages 26-32) are the only age group among Democrats who are more worried about losing their job (23%) than their own health (19%).

3. Generation Z is the most supportive of defunding the police and view it as the most important change to address in our policing and criminal justice system.

  • A plurality of young persuadable voters (29%) think that defunding the police is the most important step needed to address changes to the criminal justice system. This is followed by ending for-profit prisons and detention centers (18%) and de-escalation training for police officers (17%). Younger persuadable voters prioritize defunding the police: 40% of those aged 18-25 think it is the most important issue, compared to 20% of those aged 33-39.

4. Young Black and Latinx persuadable voters are very likely to vote in person, as opposed to voting by mail.

  • Young persuadable in swing states have a high degree of confidence in the American voting system. A plurality (42%) believe that either in-person or mail voting ensures their vote gets counted. Nearly a third (27%) think that voting in person is more secure, while 18% think that voting by mail is more secure.
  • Younger voters are more confident in the voting system. Half (50%) of those 18-25 believe that either mail or in-person voting will work, compared to 36% of those aged 33-39. 
  • Black voters are most likely to favor in-person voting. Nearly half (48%) of Black voters plan to vote in person in November, compared to 40% of Latinx voters and 30% of white voters.

5. Young persuadable voters view traditional media as the most trusted news source and there is a generational divide in trust of social media for political information.

  • 37% of young swing-state Democrats see national news outlets like the
  • New York Times and Washington Post as the most trustworthy source for political news and information. Cable news and podcasts were tied for most-trusted at 16%, with social media lagging at a distant fourth at 12%.
  • Cable news is the second choice for Democrats, whereas Independents trust both podcasts and social media more.
  • Nearly half of those surveyed (49%) do not trust social media for political information. Among those who do, 40% trust Twitter the most. 
  • There is a generational divide in trust in social media, with younger Democrats the most trusting: 37% of those aged 18-25 don’t trust social media, compared to 54% of those aged 26-32 and 52% of those aged 33-39.

See more poll findings here. 

Civiqs interviewed 1,241 Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents aged 18-39 in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin from July 18-20, 2020. The survey was conducted online, among selected members of the Civiqs research panel. Sampled individuals were emailed by Civiqs and responded using a personalized link to the survey at The survey results are weighted by age, race, gender, education, party identification, and state to be representative of the population of registered Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents aged 18-39 in the ten states. The survey has a margin of error of ±3.2% at the 95% confidence level, accounting for the weighting design effect. More information about Civiqs can be found online at