WASHINGTON — Young Americans are divided over Hillary Clinton’s handling of her email account while she was secretary of state, with most young whites saying she intentionally broke the law and young people of color more likely to give Clinton the benefit of the doubt.
The new GenForward poll of young Americans ages 18-30 also finds both Clinton and Donald Trump viewed negatively by a majority of those polled.
GenForward is a survey by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The poll is designed to pay special attention to the voices of young adults of color, highlighting how race and ethnicity shape the opinions of a new generation.
Things to know about how young people view the presidential contest:
Among all young adults in the GenForward poll, 43 percent say Clinton intentionally broke the law in her use of a private email address on a personal server while she was secretary of state, and another 20 percent think she did so unintentionally. As for the rest, 27 percent think she showed poor judgment but did not break the law, and 8 percent say she did nothing wrong at all.
More than half of young whites — 54 percent — think Clinton intentionally committed a crime, and another 17 percent think she did so unintentionally.
Video by PBS NewsHour
Young African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics view Clinton’s actions in a more sympathetic light, though few clear her of all wrongdoing. Just 32 percent of Hispanics, 29 percent of Asian-Americans and 21 percent of African-Americans think Clinton intentionally broke the law, with most of the remainder saying she either did so unintentionally or showed poor judgment that did not amount to lawbreaking.
NOT LIKING THEIR OPTIONS
Neither Trump nor Clinton is well-liked by young adults overall, with just 38 percent saying they have a favorable view of Clinton and even fewer — 21 percent — saying they have a favorable view of Trump.
While majorities of young African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics do have a positive view of Clinton, 7 in 10 young whites have a negative opinion. Trump is viewed negatively by more than 8 in 10 young blacks, Hispanics and Asian-Americans and by about two-thirds of young whites.
Large majorities of young adults across racial and ethnic groups consider Trump to be unqualified to be president. On the other hand, most young African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans think Clinton is qualified to be president, but most young whites say she’s not.
More than 7 in 10 young Americans don’t see Trump or Clinton alike as honest and trustworthy. For Clinton, that perception is greater among young whites, while young people of color are more likely to doubt Trump’s honesty than Clinton’s.
The GenForward poll, which was conducted before the political conventions, showed an uphill battle for Clinton in consolidating support among young people. Young people across racial and ethnic groups were more likely to support Sanders than Clinton in their primary contest, the poll shows. And among those who supported Sanders during the primary season, less than half were prepared to say they’ll support Clinton over Trump in the fall. Still, few said they’d support Trump. The rest said they were undecided, will vote for a third-party candidate, or will not vote.
WHAT’S THE ALTERNATIVE?
Young people are largely in agreement that the two major American political parties are lacking when it comes to representing the public. Just 28 percent of young adults, including 31 percent of African-Americans and Hispanics and 26 percent of whites and Asian-Americans, say the two parties do a good job of representing the American people.
Although they’re not happy with their options, young people across racial and ethnic groups are mostly unfamiliar with their alternatives. Seven in 10 say they don’t know enough about Libertarian Gary Johnson to have an opinion about him, and nearly 8 in 10 say the same about Jill Stein of the Green Party. An AP-GfK poll also conducted in July found similar levels of unfamiliarity among adults of all ages.
The poll of 1,940 adults age 18-30 was conducted July 9-20 using a sample drawn from the probability-based GenForward panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. young adult population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.
The survey was paid for by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago using grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation.
Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.