Trump Has A Serious Young Voter Problem

Simon Rosenberg
6 min readSep 26, 2020

In 2007 Pete Leyden and I wrote a long form magazine piece called the “50 Year Strategy” which made the case that two new, large and growing demographic groups — Millennials and Hispanics — had the potential to give Democrats a significant political advantage for many years to come. We wrote that piece because in the 2006 midterms, these two groups, starting to get to a significant size in the electorate, swung dramatically towards the Democrats. Hispanics went from 53–44 (9 pts) Dem in 2004 to 69–30 (39 pts) in 2006, and 18–29 year olds went from 54–45 (9 pts) to 60/38 (22 pts).

2006 was the election where the modern Democratic coalition began to take shape. Barack Obama leaned into this emergent coalition and rode it to two Presidential victories. Democrats have outperformed the GOP in 5 of the 7 elections starting with that 2006 election, and in the two that went bad, 2010 and 2014, Democratic performance with these groups was way off (see here for an historical look at this data).

Like 2006, the 2018 midterms saw Democrats performing at extraordinary levels with these groups. The Hispanic vote went 69–29 (40 pts) for the Dems, rivaling Obama’s 41 point margin in 2012. But it is with young people where we saw an even bigger movement towards the Democrats, Democrats had their best performance in the modern era with both 18–29 (35 pts) and 18–44 year olds (+25):

Exit polls, compiled by NDN
Exit polls, compiled by NDN

Turnout rose dramatically in 2018 too, as the chart graph below captures. .

Washington Post

Recent polls show Biden performing at 2018 levels with 18–29 year olds:

NYT/Siena Biden 60 Trump 26 (34 pts) June 2020

CIRCLE/Tisch Biden 58 Trump 24 (34 pts) June 2020


Simon Rosenberg

I run NDN/NPI, a DC think tank. Clinton & DNC alum, Tufts grad, Aspen Crown Fellow. Father of 3 great kids, truly lucky husband. Proud globalist.