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Young women: Age group of women most unhappy with Trump presidency – CBS News / Refinery29 poll

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By Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus, Kabir Khanna and Anthony Salvanto  

Women ages 18-35 feel the country is headed in the wrong direction, hold the most negative views of the Donald Trump’s presidency of any age group of women, and most believe his policies have had an adverse effect on women. More want to see Democrats take control of Congress than Republicans keep it, but while some young women have become more motivated politically, many are still less likely than older women to say they’ll vote this fall.  

Seven in 10 are women ages 18-35 dissatisfied (34 percent) or angry (36 percent) about Donald Trump’s presidency, the highest percentage of any age group of women.  Only 9 percent are happy. Most say the country is headed in the wrong direction.

More than half of women ages 18-35 (53 percent) think the president’s policies have mostly hurt women, and many (42 percent) say their vote this November, if they cast one, will be in opposition to Donald Trump. Most feel their rights and liberties are being threatened (70 percent) rather than protected (30 percent) by what’s going on in Washington.

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By more than 2 to 1, younger women prefer the Democratic Party win control of Congress. More of these women identify as Democrats than Republicans in the first place. This desire for Democratic control is larger for younger women than it is for older women.

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Yet it isn’t certain that many of them will turn out. Women ages 18-35 are the least likely of any age group to say they will definitely vote in the 2018 election: only 30 percent say they definitely will. In some cases, these women are not registered. Among those who are currently registered to vote, 48 percent say they’ll definitely vote, but that’s still a far lower percentage than among older women (76%)  

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Such a voting pattern, should it materialize in November, would be in keeping with historical trends. Younger voters have been less likely than older voters to turn out in past midterms. They comprised just 13 percent of voters in the 2014 midterms and 12 percent in 2010.

Those who are planning to vote are enthusiastic about doing so, and that is particularly true among Democrats. 

Among women ages 18-35 who say they may not vote this fall, their top reason is not being interested in politics and elections (31 percent), followed by not feeling like their vote matters (19 percent), not liking the candidates running (14 percent), and being too busy (14 percent).

Almost six in 10 (57 percent) of women ages 18-35 say they are registered vote (lower than the two-thirds of women overall who report being registered). But among young women not currently registered, one in five plan to do so ahead of November’s elections.

For most of the younger women who do vote in 2018 it will be their first time voting in a midterm election, and for a third (35 percent), it will be their first time voting ever. Those already registered to vote are more likely to have voted before, but for four in 10 of them this year would be their first time voting in a Congressional midterm.

Young women and political activism

Whether they vote in November or not, some young women have become more engaged politically.  A third of women ages 18-35 say what they’ve seen over the last year has made them more motivated to get involved in politics, similar to the percentage of women ages 36 and older. Those who have become more motivated are more likely to say they’ll vote.

Many younger women have participated in political activities since the 2016 election. Posting political views on social media is their top activity (31 percent). About one in five has contacted a member of Congress (19 percent) volunteered or donated to a candidate or cause (18 percent), attended a rally or protest (17 percent).

Younger women who say they have become more motivated to get involved in politics over the last year have higher levels of participation in these political activities.

Women Ages 18-35: Political Activities Since 2016 Election

Posted political views on social media                31%       

Contacted a member of Congress                      19%       

Volunteered/donated to a cause/candidate        18%       

Attended rallies, protests                                      17%       

Posting political opinions on social media may be easier for many compared to other activities making it more widespread. Younger women, as well as older women, don’t see it as the most effective way to effect politics. They each choose voting in elections as the most effective. Fifty-two percent of women ages 18-35 see voting in elections as the most effective, although just 30 percent say they will definitely vote this fall. Another 19 percent say they probably will.

POLITICAL PROFILE OF WOMEN AGES 18-35

Women overall have traditionally been more likely to identify as Democrat than Republican, and that gap is wider among women ages 18-35. Younger women are also less likely than older women to be affiliated with a major political party. Forty-seven percent say they are either independent or not sure.

Women                                       Women

                                          18-35                     36+        

Democrat                          34%                        34%                       

Republican                        19                           27                          

Independent                       27                           28                          

Not sure                             20                           11          

Millennial women are more likely to be liberal. Thirty-eight percent describe themselves that way, compared to 29 percent of older women.

Women                            Women

                                        18-35                     36+

Liberal                              38%                        29%                       

Moderate                          25                           25                          

Conservative                    19                           32                          

Not sure                           18                           14                          


The CBS News-Refinery29 survey is conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample

of 2,093 U.S. women adults interviewed online between July 26-30, 2018. The final sample included an oversample of 842 women aged 18-35. This sample was weighted according to age, race, and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 Presidential vote.  The margin of for the entire sample is approximately 3.0%. The margin of error for the subsample of women ages 18-35 is approximately 4.2%. 

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