Poll Results: The generation that will decide the future of California
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
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Courage California Institute partnered with Data for Social Good, Communities for a New California, and Inland Empowerment to conduct a statewide youth poll of over 2,300 registered voters between the ages of 18-29. The poll has higher representation of Asian (15%), Black (9%), and Latinx (30%) youth, as well as from the Central Valley (18%), Inland Empire (13%), and San Diego (13%). Youth voters from Los Angeles (27%) and the San Francisco Bay Area (15%) were also well-represented.
According to the poll, today’s youth voters are employed full-time (40%) or students (24%), living paycheck to paycheck (37%) or close to (21%), the majority (58%) of them have moved home to live with their parents/family to save money, and over half (56%) have not voted before.
More youth voters identify as liberals.
Democrats have an overall voter registration advantage in the state, and our poll suggests that youth voters are more liberal than the general population of registered voters in California. Nearly half of youth voters (44%) identified their political views as “Very liberal” or “somewhat liberal,” compared to 21% who identified as “Moderate,” 14% as “Very conservative” or “Somewhat conservative,” and 21% who do not think of themselves in these terms.
Most youth voters believe that voting is the best way to change society for the better and that their votes matter.
Voting is a critical means for youth civic engagement. Most youth voters (68%) think that voting is the best way to change society for the better, followed by volunteering (54%) and advocating for a policy (53%). Additionally, 63% of voters think their vote matters, 24% do not, and 14% are uncertain.
The environment is the key issue for youth because they are worried about climate change.
The top issues that youth voters care about are the environment (21%), jobs and the economy (15%), housing (12%), and state vaccination rollout/COVID-19 prevention (12%). Of those who chose state vaccination rollout/COVID-19 prevention, 43% did because not everyone in their community is vaccinated, and 40% because it continues to impact their community.
Community leaders are seen as the most effective change agents by youth voters, while these voters also see multiple barriers to change.
Our poll found that 34% youth leaders see community leaders as the most effective change agents, followed closely by elected officials, 31%. There was much less belief in influencers (10%), business people (10%), and celebrities (7%) as effective change agents.
Youth voters are fairly split on who they see as the biggest barrier to change, between government/government gridlock (25%), political party establishments (23%), corporations (20%), and the wealthy (19%). Only 12% saw older generations as the biggest barrier to change.
The majority of youth voters trust their own online research for information, and they most frequently use YouTube and Instagram.
Youth voters rank online research as the most trustworthy source for information (60% of first ranked choices), with print/radio/TV/podcast considered the next most trustworthy source, (13% of first and 28% of second ranked choices). Church/mosque/temple members are considered the least trustworthy source of information, with 47% of last ranked choices.
YouTube and Instagram are the most popular platforms of youth voters, with 21% using YouTube daily, 19% Instagram, 12% Facebook, 12% Snapchat, 10% Twitter, and 9% Tik Tok.
About this poll
Data for Social Good conducted the poll for Courage California Institute, Communities for a New California, and Inland Empowerment from July 19 – August 1, 2021. The poll was administered online in English. We polled 2,343 registered youth aged 18-29, intentionally oversampling from geographic and demographic communities that have seen higher rates of growth in the last decade, including youth voters of color and in the Central Valley, San Diego County, and Inland Empire. The margin of error is +/- 2%. This is the first of a series of statewide youth polls.