It also allows a critical look at media coverage of the race - one of the big takeaways: the third party movements are overhyped.
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The conventional wisdom about young voters in the 2016 presidential election goes something like this: White millennials are backing third-party candidates in unprecedented numbers, creating a major problem for Hillary Clinton.
It’s a theory that’s driven hundreds of news articles and think pieces. I myself have advanced it in stories here at Vox. Clinton’s campaign appears to be taking the threat seriously.
But Jon Rogowski, a political scientist at Harvard, makes a pretty convincing case that this idea is wrong — or at least vastly overstated. Earlier this week, he and the researchers at GenForward released the most thorough study I’ve seen to date of young voters and the 2016 presidential election.
Its findings suggest that the way we’ve been looking at “Clinton’s millennial problem” is upside down. Contrary to several other pollsters, the researchers found that far fewer young people will actually vote for the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson or the Green Party’s Jill Stein than has been widely reported. (This isn’t totally surprising, as third-party support historically falls off as we get closer to Election Day.)
Instead, Clinton’s millennial voter problem appears to come from a different source altogether: Young voters of color seem to be far less excited about her than they were about Barack Obama. That trend — rather than a largely imaginary groundswell of support for Johnson and Stein — poses the biggest obstacle to reassembling the Democratic Party’s youth voting bloc in 2016.