Updated Feb 18, 2024 - Politics & Policy

2024 election is Groundhog Day for disillusioned young voters

Illustration of a voting booth with stickers and sequins surrounding it.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The oldest members of Gen Z were first eligible to vote in 2016, but in that time they've only seen three candidates from the major parties: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Why it matters: Young voters are stuck in a political Groundhog Day — and many are disillusioned by the lack of choice or younger candidates who reflect their views.

By the numbers: 58% of voters between the ages of 18 and 34 — Gen Z and younger millennials — aren’t sure if they’ll vote in November, according to a new Axios-Generation Lab poll.

  • Among those who aren’t sure, half say they definitely or probably won’t go to the polls and the other half say they probably will.
  • This comes after a banner year for youth turnout in 2020.

“I feel like there’s not enough representation in both the Democratic and Republican parties,” says Jadisha Proano, a 19-year-old student at Dickinson College, who’s not planning to cast a ballot this year.

  • “I’d like to see younger people who are more in touch with the issues affecting the population of people who will be out of college soon.”

Zoom in: When asked what mattered most to them among issues including abortion, climate change, guns, student debt and immigration, a strong plurality (39%) of young voters cited the economy.

  • “I’m graduating in a few years, and I’m worried about the amount of debt I’ll be in,” Proano says. “Just finding a job seems very difficult and stressful.”

Go deeper: Inside the Gen Z mental health crisis

Methodology: This poll was conducted February 3-14, 2024, from a representative sample of 1,073 18 to 34-year-olds nationwide. The margin of error is +/- 3.0 percentage points.

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