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Youth voter turnout is always an open question, including in 2020, when young people turned out at an all-time high to largely back Joe Biden’s bid for the U.S. presidency. This time around, there are additional questions over who young people – including Democrats – will vote for.

National polls vary but generally show that a sizable percentage of young Democrats say that they will not support Biden in November. More worrying for the president, new survey data suggests giving young Democrats information depicting Biden in a relatively positive light – such as by highlighting the strong economy or Donald Trump’s norm-violating behavior – makes little difference.

“There are reasons to expect young voters might return to Biden: The economy is doing well, which tends to help incumbents,” write Neil O'Brian and Chandler James, scholars of public opinion and the U.S. presidency. They conducted the survey. But “these results also suggest an uphill battle for the Biden campaign,” as its “messages might be less well received.”

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Amy Lieberman

Politics + Society Editor

Young voters in Ann Arbor, Mich., fill out applications to cast their ballot in the midterm elections in November 2022. Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

Young people are lukewarm about Biden – and giving them more information doesn’t move the needle much

Neil O'Brian, University of Oregon; Chandler James, University of Oregon

While young voters say they would be more likely to vote for Biden after they learn more about the economy and other topics, they did not appear affected by Donald Trump’s norm-defying behavior.

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