LOWELL, Mass. - President Donald Trump, his Twitter habit and Twitter in general are not popular with millennials, according to the results of a new national poll released today.
Sixty-two percent of all millennials - Americans ages 18 to 37 - surveyed by the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion said they disapprove of Trump's job performance and only 37 percent said they view the president favorably. The independent, nonpartisan poll of 1,000 adults, which has a margin of error of 3.4 percent, was conducted prior to the government shutdown.
Of those polled, 54 percent identify themselves as Democrats, 32 percent as Republicans, 12 percent as independents and 2 percent were unsure. Among millennials who identified as Republicans, more than 80 percent said they approve of the job Trump is doing as president.
A majority of millennials do not approve of Trump's behavior on Twitter. Sixty-eight percent said the president tweets too much, 26 percent said he tweets about the right amount and 6 percent said he doesn't tweet enough. Even among Republicans, 40 percent said they feel the president tweets too much.
"Millennials largely dislike Trump because they so strongly identify with the Democratic party and independent millennials are prone to agree with Democrats on a lot of policy issues. Republican millennials like Trump and like the job he's doing as president, but two-fifths of them want the president to tweet less. It goes to show that even among his staunchest supporters, there's concern about the president's personal approach to the office," said John Cluverius, associate director of the Center for Public Opinion and assistant professor of political science, who oversaw the poll and analyzed the results.
Twitter itself gets a low approval rating from millennials, with only 37 percent saying they view the social media platform favorably. Facebook gets the same low mark, too, with a 37 percent favorability rating.
"I was surprised to see such low favorables for Facebook and Twitter, given that this generation makes up a huge part of the user bases of both platforms. Younger millennials may be switching to platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, but I think this finding reinforces the idea that while lots of people use these services, they don't make people happy," said Cluverius.
The poll also asked millennials for their views on the issues of gun control and immigration.
Sixty percent of millennials expressed support for increasing restrictions on the purchase and carrying of firearms, while 21 percent said the current restrictions are the right amount and 18 percent favor fewer restrictions on guns. A higher percentage of millennials identifying as Democrats and independents voiced support for more restrictions than Republicans surveyed. However, 36 percent of Republicans favor more restrictions vs. 26 percent who said they want fewer.
When it comes to immigration, millennials expressed far less liberal attitudes than on other issues, according to Cluverius. Thirty-five percent of those polled said the United States should let in more people from other countries, 34 percent said the U.S. should let in fewer people from other countries.
The poll also asked millennials for their feelings on potential 2020 presidential candidates: Trump, Joe Biden, Beto O'Rourke, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. (The poll was conducted prior to Warren's announcement she is running for president.)
Fifty-four percent polled said they will support whoever the Democratic nominee is, compared to 27 percent who said they will vote for Trump, 10 percent who are undecided and 9 percent who said they will vote for another candidate.
Biden and Sanders are the most well-liked by millennials, with 54 percent who have a favorable impression of Sanders and 51 percent who have a favorable view of Biden. Forty percent said they have a favorable view of Warren and 36 percent of O'Rourke, but results for both also indicated they may have issues with name recognition among millennials; a total of 26 percent said they had never heard of Warren, had no opinion or provided no response and a total of 39 percent had no opinion or provided no response about O'Rourke.
UMass Lowell last polled millennials in the days leading up to the 2016 presidential election and found that nearly a quarter of those surveyed would rather have seen a giant meteor strike the Earth than see either of then-candidates Hilary Clinton or Trump elected president. While that response was not to be taken literally, it illustrated the disenfranchisement felt by millennial voters at the time.
The poll released today found a majority of millennials are skeptical about the federal government's ability to make decisions fairly. Sixty percent said they feel they can trust the federal government to make decisions in a fair way less than half the time, compared to 23 percent who said they trust decisions are made fairly more than half the time and 17 percent who said exactly half the time.
"Two trends are clear across both surveys: Young Americans continue to be skeptical, pessimistic and disillusioned by the state of the country and its future course, and more than any previous generation of young Americans, they identify very strongly with the Democratic party," said Cluverius.
The poll was independently conducted by the University of Massachusetts Lowell, designed and analyzed by the UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion and fielded by YouGov, both of which are members of the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Transparency Initiative. Data was collected online from Nov. 30 through Dec. 10, 2018; YouGov interviewed 1,166 respondents who were then matched to a sample of 1,000 to produce the final data set of Americans ages 18 to 37. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.4 percent. Full survey methodology is available at http://www.uml.edu/polls.
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