Harvard College Students: Clinton Wins Debate

By Harvard’s Institute of Politics, Special for  USDR

In the first debate, a solid majority of 50-plus college students (63%) believes that Hillary Clinton won the night from the virtual town meeting of 18- to 29-year-old Americans by Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP), located at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, in partnership with REVOLT Media and  Purple.

Young voters from more than 20 universities across the country participated in the digital town hall, which was designed to provide qualitative analysis of students from across the country, and is not a predictive or a representative sample of the national Millennial population. Throughout the debate, participants answered questions about the candidates and their performances. See the full results online at  http://iop.harvard.edu/iop-now/iop-debate-night.

“Over the past 16 years, our polling consistently shows that young Americans are engaged in their communities and the issues that affect them, whether it’s the economy, judicial system, or racial equity,” said Harvard Institute of Politics Polling DirectorJohn Della Volpe. “It’s clear that that these voters hope and expect our political leaders to step up to the challenge of addressing their  concerns.”

“Millennials are going to decide the outcome of this election. We wanted to make sure they had a voice in tonight’s debate, and they clearly had a lot to say,” said Brian Reich, Political Director for REVOLT. “The results from tonight show that young voters are paying attention and both campaigns, as well as the media, have more work to do to connect with them on the issues they care about  most.”

At the end of the night, 71% of town hall participants trusted Clinton more than Donald Trump to be commander-in-chief, and 29% trusted Trump more. When asked which candidate they trust more to grow the economy, tonight’s first topic of debate, 55% of respondents trusted Clinton more, and 45% trusted Trump  more.

Young voters found Clinton better prepared to be president, with 84% answering she was better prepared for the office than Trump,  16%.

When asked about Trump’s treatment of Hillary Clinton during the debate, 46% answered “too aggressive,” 37% answered “just right,” and 17% said “not aggressive  enough.”

With an eye on November, a majority of young voters (65%) said the debate did not change their voting plans. However, 20% said they are more likely to vote for Clinton, 10% said more likely to vote for Trump, and 5% responded they were more likely to vote for a third party  candidate.

Asked for the most memorable moment of the debate, a student from the University of Kansas reported it was when “Secretary Clinton noted that she is actually prepared to be president. She said something like, ‘I did prepare for the debate. And I also prepared to be  president.'”

A Donald Trump supporter from Harvard University noted that the most memorable moment was when “Mr. Trump pointed out that Mrs. Clinton has been involved in charting the nation’s course for decades and we have been losing ground. She could not explain what she has been doing all that  time.”

A self-proclaimed Gary Johnson voter from the University of Florida noted that Clinton “seemed more laid back, more human with her reaction to many of Trump’s statements, which I would say helps in her appeal to younger  voters.”

Note: These results are based upon the responses from college students representing 20 colleges and universities across the country. Before the survey, Clinton received 52% of the vote, Trump 21%, Johnson 13% and 15% were  undecided.

Our mission at Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP) is to create the future of politics and public service every day, inspiring undergraduates to lead lives of purpose by committing themselves to the practice of politics and governing, and to public service and the countless opportunities to serve at home and around the world. The IOP was established in 1966 as a memorial to President Kennedy. More information is available online at www.iop.harvard.edu/.   

SOURCE Harvard’s Institute of  Politics

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