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POLL: Millennials will Decide 2014 Elections… If They Vote

May 15, 2014| By:

New Poll Looks at Millennials, Where They Stand, Why They Vote, and Why They Won’t If Progressives Don’t Get Busy

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, during a briefing with national media, the Youth Engagement Fund and Project New America released results from an extensive national survey of Millennials conducted by respected pollster Harstad Strategic Research. The survey’s findings make one point abundantly clear: if progressives have any hope of stopping conservatives in 2014, they must engage, inspire, and turn out more Millennial voters. In other words, the fate of the U.S. Senate majority and dozens of hotly contested races up and down the ballot rests with Millennials.

"If progressives are going to win in November, they must increase turn out by Millennials. It doesn’t get any simpler than that," said Youth Engagement Fund director Alexandra Acker-Lyons. She continued, "On issue after issue, Millennials favor progressive solutions by wide margins – especially when it comes to economic opportunity and pocketbook security."

"The fate of the Senate majority and dozens of other close races could be in jeopardy if we fail to take the clear path this survey presents," said Project New America president Jill Hanauer. She continued, "Increased Millennial turnout can help progressives defy the odds in this difficult midterm environment when turnout drops across the board."

Dozens of organizations across the country are already putting the survey’s findings to work, helping to motivate Millennials and expand their influence in the pivotal midterm election. They have already begun targeting Millennials that are least likely to vote with messages that stress the importance of issues these young Americans care about most.

"It makes sense that Millennials care deeply about pocketbook issues like making student loans affordable and investing in good jobs," said Rock The Vote’s new president Ashley Spillane. "This poll underscores how important it is for both sides – Republicans and Democrats – to address the issues young people care about and inspire them to turn out and vote. Every time a Millennial votes, they are more and more likely to become lifetime participants in our democracy."

Harstad Strategic Research has polled for President Barack Obama since 2002 -- including his primary wins in Illinois in 2004 and in the 2008 Iowa caucuses and 8 battleground states. The firm has won 14 of its last 16 U.S. Senate races -- winning in both good and bad years for Democrats. Harstad has also been victorious in 15 of its last 16 statewide campaigns for ballot measures. Dr. Mike Kulisheck and Paul Harstad conducted this Millennials survey for Project New America and Youth Engagement Fund.

The Youth Engagement Fund is a collaborative effort of individual and institutional funders to build 501(c)3 and 501(c)4 capacity and infrastructure in the youth civic engagement sector. It works with a diverse network of over 80 national, state, and local organizations and provides shared resources and direct funding to support the most impactful young voter mobilization efforts.

Project New America (PNA) is a private company that provides candidates, advocacy organizations, policy advocates, Democratic Party committees, and civic engagement stakeholders with the cutting edge tools and strategies needed to understand and communicate with a rapidly changing America.

Polling Topline Survey – Click Here to Download PDF
Polling Presentation Deck – Click Here to Download PDF

If you’d like to discuss the survey and what organizations are doing to act on its findings, contact Karl Frisch at or 202-681-5275.

Project New America