For the first time ever, Millennials—anyone born between 1980 and 1995—will make up the largest demographic in the U.S. electorate. According to data from Pew Research, the number of 2016 Millennial eligible voters will match that of their Baby Boomer parents. Both cohorts comprise roughly 31 percent of the voting-eligible population.
As the GOP and democrats hold national conventions this month, the 2016 U.S. presidential elections shifts into high gear. Now is a good time to examine Millennial attitudes and how they might impact ballot results this November.
Millennials and politics
You don’t have to look very far to see the political power of Millennials. These young voters are widely credited for President Barack Obama’s decisive, back-to-back wins. Fifty-two percent of voters under 30 years old showed up to the polls in 2008. That number dipped slightly to 45 percent in 2012, but the influence of Millennials on politics is hard to deny.
This electoral cycle, political pundits attribute the surprising performance of Vermont senator Bernie Sanders to strong Millennial and Gen Z support. In Canada, Millennials are credited for electing Justin Trudeau, a young politician who’s openly feminist and is now the first Canadian Prime Minister to walk the Pride Parade.
Data shows that Millennials plan to once again show up in 2016. In The Everything Guide to Millennials, a comprehensive Vision Critical report on Millennial attitudes and behaviors, an overwhelming 76 percent of Gen Y voters said they will “definitely” be voting in the upcoming U.S. election. Only eight percent said they have no plans of showing up to the polls.
An overwhelming 76 percent of Gen Y voters said they will “definitely” be voting in the upcoming U.S. election.
With an overwhelming majority of Millennials planning to cast a vote this November, politicians need to pay attention to the issues that matter most to this generation.
What Millennials really care about
The typical portrayal of Millennials as liberal and socially engaged citizens is not a misleading stereotype—it’s a fact.
Our study shows that nine in 10 Millennials care about human rights, health care equality and poverty issues—a similar pattern among Gen X and Boomers. But when it comes to gender equality, global warming, LGBT rights and race relations, Millennials tend to care more than their older counterparts, as these stats show:
- Eighty-three percent of Millennials care about gender equality, compared to only 72 percent of Gen Xers. (TWEET THIS STAT)
- While 83 percent of Millennials think global warming is an important issue, only 71 percent of Boomers agree. (TWEET THIS STAT)
- Eighty-two percent of Millennials agree that racial inequality is a big issue; however, only 71 percent of Gen X agree. (TWEET THIS STAT)
- Seventy-three percent of MIllennials care about LGBT rights and issues—something only 54 percent of Gen X and 46 percent of Boomers feel passionate about. (TWEET THIS STAT)
Millennials’ concern for social justice has far-reaching implications not just for politicians, but also for businesses. These young customers now have an estimated $600 billion in annual spending power in the U.S. alone. They’re also projected to receive $30 trillion in inheritance during their lifetime. Their sheer size and spending power makes Millennials a generation worth paying attention to.
How politicians—and businesses—can attract Millennials
The impact of Millennials on the U.S. election is just one aspect of their increasing influence. This sizable generation can’t be underestimated. Their evolving opinions and preferences will reshape brands as much as political parties. To win this elusive demographic, companies will need insight on the evolving Millennial lifestyle. Meaningful engagement is key to gaining customer intelligence on the Millennial motivations and aspirations—and how they change over time.