Blueprint, I Shrunk the Kids: The Top Issues and Concerns For Young Voters In 2024

“Far too many people confuse the way that young voters are different from the wider electorate with the issues that young voters actually care about the most,” said Blueprint lead pollster Evan Roth Smith.

May 16, 2024

Blueprint today released a new poll that details the top concerns for young voters, ages 18-30, and breaks down where they stand in relation to President Joe Biden and Donald Trump on everything from the economy to abortion to hot-button issues like Israel-Palestine and the forced sale of TikTok. While there has been a flashpoint over the last few weeks generated by the political frustrations of young voters, we find that there are opportunities for Biden to steer his campaign to core themes that address their top concerns ahead of November, particularly by focusing on issues related to prices and the economy.

Across all findings, the top-of-mind issues for young voters are not so different from the overall electorate and, at first glance, may even make more sense for voters three times their age. The top issues among young voters are inflation (73%), healthcare (71%), jobs and the economy (70%), government spending and the federal deficit (63%), corruption (63%), and Social Security and Medicare (62%).

Young voters trust Biden over Trump to handle almost every issue—from implementing economic policies that work for everyone to ensuring they will have a better future to preventing war and conflict. But the only two issues where Biden loses to Trump on trust may be the defining issues of the 2024 election: reducing prices (52% trust Trump more) and securing the border (53% trust Trump more). Relatedly, the Biden policies that young voters say will most benefit their lives are targeted at price reduction, including investing in agricultural supply chains to bring down food prices, banning “junk fees,” and allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug pricing. 

Contrary to conventional wisdom and current narratives, roughly equal shares of young voters identify as moderate (31​​%), liberal (36%), or conservative (33%). And while respondents say Biden is closer to their views on most issues, we find that these young voters care more about pocketbook issues than issues typically viewed as being uniquely important to them. On the economy, 50% of young voters—including 43% of Democrats, 47% of independents, and 62% of Republicans—say that lower prices on goods, services, and gas is their top priority. That’s compared to 26% who say they want higher wages, 15% who say more jobs, and 10% who want lower interest rates.

Addressing the pressure points in the economy most felt by young voters—along with speaking to their concerns about abortion, Social Security and Medicare, and even immigration and the border—offers a clear path forward for Democrats with this key group. Notably, issues like Ukraine, Israel-Palestine, and Trump’s threat to democracy do not appear to be as salient.

“Far too many people confuse the way that young voters are different from the wider electorate with the issues that young voters actually care about the most,” said Blueprint lead pollster Evan Roth Smith. “While young voters hold politically distinct views on issues such as climate change, Israel-Palestine, and student loans, their top concerns are focused on prices and the economy. When it comes to winning their votes, economic issues need to be front and center.

“Young voters are more diverse than they have ever been—what binds them together is that they are more economically unstable than older voters, and so they experience the pressure points of this economy more acutely. They are overwhelmingly concerned about inflation, healthcare, and jobs, much more so than the issues typically associated with winning the so-called ‘youth vote.’”

TOP TAKEAWAYS & FINDINGS

This Election, Young Voters Are Prioritizing Kitchen Table Issues

The poll compared how important various issues are to young voters, asking them which ones they prioritize most this year.  

The most frequently prioritized issues by young voters are inflation (chosen 73% of the time), healthcare (71%), jobs and the economy (70%), government spending and the federal deficit (63%), corruption (63%), and Social Security and Medicare (62%).

The lowest priority issues are China (27%), college (37%), LGBTQ issues (38%), student loans (38%), and Ukraine (39%). Israel-Palestine stands in the middle of the pack, at 52%.

A breakdown of demographic groups reveals a similar prioritization of price reductions and policies that have a direct impact on their lives, their futures, and their families. 

On the Economy, Young Voters Want Lower Prices and Trust Trump More to Make It Happen

When asked about the economy, 50% of young voters—including 43% of Democrats, 47% of independents, and 62% of Republicans—say their priority is lower prices on goods, services, and gas. That’s compared to 26% who say they want higher wages, 15% who say more jobs, and 10% who say lower interest rates. 

Notably, just 13% of voters think Biden is most focused on lowering prices. 40%, including 42% of Democrats, 37% of independents, and 43% of Republicans, say he is most focused on more jobs.  

32% say Trump is most focused on lowering prices, and the same share, 32%, say Trump is most focused on creating more jobs. When asked which candidate they trust more to reduce prices, 52% say Trump. 

While men, Latino voters, white voters, independents, non-college voters, and those in households earning more than $75,000 a year all trust Trump more to reduce prices, 57% of Black voters trust Biden more on the issue. 62% of Black voters also trust Biden more to pass policies that will personally help them. 

President Biden Can Tout Policy Wins on Price Reduction—and Young Voters Say Those Policies, In Particular, Will Benefit Them the Most

Our poll presented respondents with a series of Biden’s economic policies and asked whether they thought these policies would personally benefit them or not. 

The Biden policies that most young voters believe will benefit them are all related to price reduction: investing in agricultural supply chains to reduce food prices (72% will benefit me), banning companies from charging hidden or misleading “junk fees” for products and services (66%), and allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug pricing to lower the cost of prescription drugs (61%). Using antitrust to enforce laws against price gouging and price fixing tested at the top of the pack as well (57%).

Notably, 59% of young voters say canceling $10,000 in student debt will benefit them. That includes 57% of independents, 67% of Black voters, 65% of Latino voters, 60% of those in households making less than $75,000, and 57% of those in households making more than $75,000. However, this stands in contrast with the overall electorate, 52% of whom support student loan cancellation, previous Blueprint polls show. It is one of the least popular but most well-known Biden accomplishments with the electorate as a whole.

The Biden policies that the lowest share of young voters say will benefit them are capping insulin costs at $35 a month for seniors (36% will benefit me), tax rebates for people buying electric vehicles (37%), and approving more permits for domestic oil and gas drilling than any previous president (41%). 

Young Voters Are Not Overwhelmingly Liberal, and They Say Biden Is Closer to Their Views on Most of the Issues

When asked to define their own political views, 31% of young voters say they are moderate. 36% define themselves as liberal, out of which 21% say they are very liberal. 33% define themselves as conservative, out of which 12% say they are very conservative. 

49% of young voters see Biden as liberal, with 28% saying he is very liberal. 32%, including 39% of independents, say he is moderate. Notably, young Black voters—47% of whom identify as moderate—are most likely to say Biden is moderate himself, with 52% defining Biden as such. A large gap exists based on college education, with 41% of those with degrees saying Biden is very liberal but 35% of those without a degree saying Biden is moderate.

74% of young voters say Trump is conservative, with 57% saying he is very conservative—that includes 61% of Democrats, 50% of independents, and 61% of Republicans. However, just 28% of young Black voters say Trump is very conservative, with 33% defining him as moderate. 

The issues where the largest shares of young voters say Biden is close to their views are student loans (43%), election integrity (43%), and K-12 education (41%). With young independents, the top issues are election integrity (48%), Social Security and Medicare (46%), and regulating businesses (43%). Notably, independents say Biden is close to their views at 42% for all the following issues: abortion and birth control, student loans, Israel-Palestine, K-12 education, corruption, and immigration and the border.

On the other hand, the top three issues where young voters say Biden is either somewhat more liberal or far more liberal than they are include jobs and the economy (41% somewhat more liberal or far more liberal),  LGBTQ issues (40%), immigration and the border (39%), and crime (39%). 

For Trump, the top issues where the largest share of young voters say he is close to their views are regulating businesses (35%), K-12 education (35%), and jobs and the economy (34%). With independents, the top issues are K-12 education (38%), corruption (36%), and climate change and the environment (34%).

The top issues on which young voters say Trump is either somewhat more conservative or far more conservative than they are include LGBTQ issues (59% somewhat more conservative or far more conservative), asylum seekers (58%), abortion (58%), the border (57%), healthcare (57%), and Security and Medicare (56%).

On abortion, 67% of young female voters, 62% of young white voters,  51% of young Black voters, 50% of young male voters, 45% of young Hispanic voters all say Trump is either somewhat more conservative or far more conservative than they are.

The Top Worries About Trump Are That He Will Cut Social Security and Medicare and Will Pass Economic Policies That Favor the Rich Over the Middle Class

The top worries that young voters have about what Trump would do if elected are cut funding for Social Security and Medicare (61%), cut taxes for the rich but not working- and middle-class families (59%, and highest among Latino voters at 71%), and ignore military leaders and act in dangerous ways that threaten national security (58%). Among young independents, the top three worries are the same as young voters overall.

When asked the same about what a Biden second term might bring, the top issues that young voters are worried about are that he would be too old to do the job well (72%), he would allow prices to increase on goods and services (65%), he would be too pro-Israel and anti-Palestine (61%), and he would increase the national debt (58%). 

Notably, all of the top five concerns about a Biden second-term test below 50% with young Black voters except for his age, which only 52% of young Black voters are concerned about. 

A Majority of Young Voters Have Heard About Recent Israel-Palestine Protests on Campuses, but There Is a Large Partisan Disconnect on Sympathies

56% of young voters have heard of recent protests about Israel-Palestine on campuses, including Columbia, but 83% say they have not recently attended a protest, demonstration, or other public events in support of either Israel or Palestine. 

When asked what concerns them more about campus protests, 52% say they are more concerned about 

“Pro-Palestinian protestors being silenced by university administrators and not being able to raise awareness about Israel’s human rights abuses in Gaza.” 

That’s compared to 48% who say they are more concerned about 

“Pro-Palestinian protestors saying anti-Semitic things and making Jewish students feel unsafe on campus.” 

 62% of Democrats choose the former statement, and 67% of Republicans choose the latter. 57% of independents are more concerned about pro-Palestinian protestors being silenced.

43% of young voters think that politicians and the media are concerned about Israel and Palestine the right amount, 34% say too little, and 23% say too much. However, 55% say that people in their own life, such as friends, family, and coworkers, are concerned about Israel and Palestine the right amount. 

70% of Young Voters Say They Get Their News from Social Media, and They Oppose the Recent TikTok Legislation By a Considerable Margin

70% of young voters say social media is either the primary way or one of many ways they get their news. When asked where they get most of their news, 48% say they get it from social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok, including 57% of Democrats, 46% of independents, and 37% of Republicans. 

22% say they get most of their news from traditional media, such as newspapers and TV news, with Republicans posting the highest share at 32%. 14% say they get their news from podcasts or YouTube.

49% of young voters say they never post their political views online, including  59% of independents, 37% of Democrats, and 53% of Republicans. 37% say they only sometimes post their views online, including 48% of Democrats, and 13% say they post their views often. 

On TikTok, 56% of young voters are not concerned that it is owned by a Chinese company, with 33% saying they are not at all concerned. 62% of Democrats are not concerned, 60% of independents are not concerned, and 43% of Republicans are not concerned. 32% are concerned, 11% are very concerned. 48% of Republicans are concerned, with 20% very concerned. 

In turn, 51% of young voters oppose the recent TikTok legislation, which requires ByteDance to sell TikTok within 270 days or be banned. 34% strongly oppose the required sale of TikTok, including 38% of Democrats, 34% of independents, and 26% of Republicans. 31% neither support nor oppose the sale or are unsure. Just 18% support requiring the sale of TikTok.

Press Contacts

Alyssa Cass
alyssa@slingshotstrat.com
347-992-5006

Evan Roth Smith
evan@slingshotstrat.com
646-240-0096

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ABOUT THE POLL

Blueprint surveyed an online sample of 943 voters from the ages of 18-30 from April 27 to April 29. The survey was conducted in English, and its margin of error is ±5.8 percentage points.