Young potential voters are the biggest question mark heading into this year’s election season, with 18-29 year-olds expressing less confidence—often by wide margins—in their knowledge of how to participate in the democratic process at its most basic level.
Just half (50%) of 18-29 year-olds say they are “very confident” they know where to vote, compared with 64% of 30-49 year-olds, 78% of 50-64 year-olds, and 84% of those 65 and older.
Only about a quarter of 18-29 year-olds say they know where to get unbiased information about issues (25%) and candidates (24%)—though those numbers both rise to be about four in 10 among those 65 and older.
Across the board, adults of voting age in the U.S. lack confidence that their vote will be counted fairly, with just 29% of all adults and just 23% of 18-29 year-olds saying they are very confident their vote will be counted fairly.
Fewer than three in 10 adults say they are “very confident” that they get unbiased news about several key issues today: racial justice and civil rights, climate change, U.S. politics, local issues, hunger and food insecurity, and COVID-19. On most issues, young adults are slightly less likely to express confidence that the news they read, watch, or listen to is based on unbiased facts.
For more detailed results, click through the interactive toplines below.
Read more about our polling methodology here.
Thinking about LAST YEAR, which, if any, of the following ways were you involved in politics or causes in your community? (Select all that apply.)
-Voted in elections
-Encourage other people to vote
-Shared opinions on social media
-Encourage other people to take action on a political or social cause or issue that is important to you
-Donated money to a candidate, campaign, or political organization
-Wrote Members of Congress
-Put up a political sign (such as a lawn sign or bumper sticker)
-Protested, marched, or demonstrated
-Attended local political meetings
-Worked for a candidate or campaign
-None of these
Now thinking specifically about the past 6 months, in which of the following ways have you been involved in politics or causes on social media?
-Used hashtags related to a political or social issue
-Posted a picture to show your support for a cause
-Seen political ads
-None of the above
-I don’t use social media.
Compared to 6 months ago, would you say your use of social media to get involved with political or social issues that are important to you has increased, decreased, or remained about the same for you?
Compared to how you felt 6 months ago, how prepared do you feel to make a difference in your community?
Thinking about the following topics, how confident are you that the news you read, watch, or listen to is based on unbiased facts?
Racial justice/civil rights
U.S. politicsLocal Issues
Have you taken action on any of the following issues in the past 6 months? (Select all that apply).
-Racial justice/civil rights
-Other (please specify)
-None of the above
Thinking about voting this November, how confident are you about the following…?
Your vote will be fairly counted
You know where to vote, either in-person or through mail
You know where to get unbiased information about candidates
You know where to get unbiased information about issues (e.g., ballot initiatives, propositions)
Some people are registered to vote and others are not. Are you registered to vote where you now live, or aren't you?
Do you plan to register or confirm that you are registered before the November 2020 general election?
What are the chances that you will vote in the November 2020 general election for President?
Compared to 6 months ago, would you say your interest in voting in the 2020 election has increased, decreased, or remained about the same?