Millennials have been the focus of the “youth” vote for over a decade now. However, the upper end of this generation is now in their late-30s and a new youth cohort is coming onto the scene. This new generation, Generation Z, will play a huge, if not defining role in the 2020 and 2024 elections and significant research is needed to understand who they are, what motivates them and how to reach them with messaging.
Why Focus on Generation Z?
Generation Z, currently defined as those born after 1995 (with a lower cutoff yet to be determined) outnumber every other living age cohort in the nation at 26% of the population.
For years, analysts, pundits, and political parties have lumped Generation Z in with its immediate predecessor, Millennials. For a while, conservatives have attempted to bring younger voters into the party, with poor results, and largely now concede these votes to the left. Democrats have capitalized on the Millennial vote and support – former President Obama won 60 percent of the millennial vote in 2012.
However, in recent years the Democratic party’s stronghold on younger voters has been slipping, and preliminary research indicates this is a result of the youngest voters – Generation Z. In 2016, Generation Z’s first Presidential election, Hillary Clinton underperformed Obama’s 2012 numbers among young voters by 7 points. If conservatives want to be successful in elections through the next generation, they must understand Generation Z and capitalize on the potential that exists with this group of young potential voters.
Market Research Foundation conducted an online study of n=1,501 members of Generation Z between the ages of 13 and 23, the members of the generation old enough to be aware of political and cultural news and trends. The 15-minute survey covered a variety of political and civic attitudes and in-depth demographics.
The total sample is representative of the United States population aged 13-23 on age, gender, race and region. Data was collected from February 19 – March 3, 2019.