Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The subtle disenfranchisement of millennials

CNN is leaving millennials out of the polls. At least, that's the story touted by the Independent Voter Network (IVN). I saw this story in a post on Google+ and decided to do some research on it to see how valid it is.

In case you hadn't noticed, the millenials are now the largest voting demographic in the country, yet in a recent CNN poll, they are cited as "N/A". In fact, according IVN, millennials are "N/A" in every poll by CNN in 2016.

CNN isn't the only media outlet to under-represent millennials, the others are just more subtle. Just to be sure, I reviewed three polls to check out their supporting documents for the headlines. Each supporting document is complete with the actual questions used, the demographic breakdown, and the  results.

I reviewed CNN, NBC and The Economist/YouGov and found a fairly consistent pattern: millennials are not proportionately represented by the polls. They are under-represented or not represented at all. Each of the polls I reviewed included 4-way polls between Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson (Libertarian), and Jill Stein (Green Party). You can find them all at Real Clear Politics, just as I did. Each link below for a poll will lead to an article for the poll results and if you look closely, you will find a link at the bottom of the article for methodology. That's the source document and that is the one we should be looking at.

The Economist/YouGov poll shows the following breakdown:


In the above example, we see that the Under 30 set is 34% of the 45-64 set. They are even less than the 65+ set, yet Millennials are still the largest demographic in the nation.

Now let's have a look at the NBC News Poll:

Here again, we see that millennials are under-represented, but not nearly so much as in the YouGov poll. There were 1284 Respondents ages 18-34, which is roughly on par with the next group up, 35-44. But as the age goes up, the response rate goes up and we see that Millennials are outnumbered in the poll.

Then there is the CNN poll. As noted above, this is the one that got me interested in this topic in the first place. In the CNN poll, the millennials are showing up as "N/A". If you've recently emptied your nest, these are probably your kids. Now check out the demographics for the CNN/ORC International Poll -- September 1 to 4, 2016:


Notice how in this poll, voters aged 18-34 are just not there? Did they even try to contact the millennials? Based on the other polls, I don't think so. But there are more than a few memes pointing this out and they are making inferences of foul play on the part of the pollsters. The inference is fairly easy to draw, too. Older people are more likely to show support for Trump or Clinton just because older people tend to favor traditional parties like Republicans and Democrats. So the mainstream media will give greater weight and preference to older people to support their narrative that Clinton has greater support than all other candidates.

It is tempting to infer that mainstream media is keeping away from millennials because of their broad support for Bernie Sanders when he was still running in the primaries. I've made that inference myself and I believe that there is some truth to it. Mainstream media is very likely cherry picking on their polls, but I think there is more to it than that.

Milliennials are busy dealing with an economy that is hostile to them. They are either in college or been to college and they see that their job prospects are not that hot. They may be working 2 or more jobs just to pay the bills and the debts from college. If I were a member of the elite 0.05%, I'd want those kids to stay busy so that they don't have time for polls, so that they don't have an interest in politics.

Try this. Go a city council meeting and see who's sitting in the council seats. Are they young or old? I've done this and I saw that most of them were in the 40's and 50's. They've already set up their lives the way they wanted and they're looking at retirement. They now have time for political engagement. If there are any young people on your city council, they may become career politicians, but you can be sure that the elite don't want young people engaged in politics.

Older people tend to answer the phone for polls. I do and I'm an older person. I answer every poll that comes in for one simple reason: someone is paying good money for the poll and I'm probably paying indirectly for that poll. I answer the call to make sure my voice is heard. Some people are irritated with polling. I'm not. I'm happy to answer those questions because every little bit helps. In the last political poll I was called for, I made it clear that I'm a Sanders supporter.

I am still a Sanders supporter. I disagree with his decision to campaign for Hillary Clinton, but I agree with his policy positions. Now that Sanders is out, Jill is in. I'm voting for Jill Stein for the simple reason that I agree with the Green Party and their policy positions. I will participate in polls asking about her because I want to see her on the debate stage with Trump, Clinton and Johnson.

Millennials are the generation of change and they want change. Their voice is being stifled by the older generation because the older generation thinks they know better. It's almost as if the older generation, now entrenched in the mainstream media, has the following message for millennials: "Pipe down, kids! We know what we're doing and we want Clinton. When you get older you can have what you want. When you show up at the polls to vote, you can have what you want. But right now, we have the power and there's nothing you can do about it." Well, they did show up at the polls. In record numbers. Did they get what they wanted? I don't think so.

I went to a Sanders rally in Utah and I saw that the majority of the people there were millennials. They were there because they were hungry for change. Bernie Sanders enjoyed very high support among Millennials, yet somehow, as the largest demographic, they did not get their choice nominated at the Democratic National Convention.

If the mainstream media continues to claim that Hillary Clinton enjoys broad support among voters, even Democrats, then perhaps they could explain this: On September 5th, Bernie Sanders held a rally for Hillary Clinton and only 300 people showed up in Lebanon, New Hampshire. The last census for Lebanon indicated a population of 13,000 people, but only 300 people showed up? I guess they were the relevant funders in that town.

Compare that to a rally Bernie Sanders held in Iowa, in January, early in the primaries. That town had a population of 8,000 people and 2200 people crammed into an auditorium to see him back then.

There is something seriously wrong with a leading candidate from a major party who can't draw big crowds. She's not drawing millennials, for sure. She's not drawing much of anyone to her rallies, except maybe the relevant funders, and I don't think that even Bernie Sanders can save her.

When the mainstream media leaves the millennials out, or tries to shortchange them in the polls, it's a subtle form of disenfranchisement. It's an abdication of their duty to inform the public about the candidates running for president.

The mainstream media is aware that in order to get on the debate stage, candidates from any party must show 15% or better in an average of five polls before the debates. The mainstream media also knows that 3rd party candidates will never even see the debate stage if they ignore third party candidates and their biggest supporters, the millennials.
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