Poll: Young Voters Favor Obama, Clinton

generic campaign 08 barack obama hilary clinton teenagers young adults youth students CBS/AP

Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are the favored presidential candidates of younger Americans, according to a poll conducted by CBS News, The New York Times and MTV.

Eighteen percent say they're enthusiastic about Obama and 17 percent are enthusiastic about Clinton – far more than say the same about Republicans Rudy Giuliani (4 percent), Mitt Romney (2 percent) and potential candidate Fred Thompson (2 percent).

Even 8 percent of GOP primary voters are excited about Obama – more than Thompson (7 percent) and John McCain (2 percent). Thirteen percent of Republicans say they're enthusiastic about Giuliani.

ARE YOU ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT ANY 2008 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE?

Barack Obama
18%
Hillary Clinton
17%
Rudy Giuliani
4%
Mitt Romney
2%
Fred Thompson
2%
Other
4%
No, none of them
45%

Among those who plan to vote in the Democratic primaries, 29 percent are enthusiastic about Clinton and 26 percent about Obama.

Forty-five percent of younger Americans aren't enthusiastic about any candidate.

If the election were held today, a majority of 17 to 29-year-olds (54 percent) say they'd vote for the Democratic candidate, while 32 percent would vote Republican.

Nearly eight in ten younger Americans think their generation will have a lot or some impact on who the next president will be.

And even at this early stage, six in ten say they're paying a lot or some attention to the campaign. That's compared with just 35 percent who said they were paying attention in the summer of 2003, the same point before the last presidential election.

Most say the 2008 presidential election is the most important, or one of the most important, in their lifetime.

Nearly three-fourths of 17 to 29-year-olds say they're registered to vote, and most of those who aren't say they plan to register before the 2008 election.

Not surprisingly, many are using the Internet to learn about the candidates. One-third say they've been to a candidate's Web site and 15 percent have connected to a candidate through social networking sites like MySpace or Friendster.

On the issues, younger Americans name the economy (23 percent) and Iraq (20 percent) as their top concerns, followed by education and the environment.

But two-thirds of 17 to 29-year-olds say the candidates aren't paying enough attention to some of their specific topics of concern: student loans, job training, health care for the uninsured and reducing oil use.

Most young Americans don't think being black or female would affect how people they know would view a candidate, but being Mormon or gay or lesbian might.

Only 28 percent think most people they know would vote for a Mormon, and only one in four think most would vote for a gay or lesbian.

Most young Americans think their acquaintances would vote for a candidate who has smoked marijuana, but not for a candidate who used cocaine.

Interviews for this poll were conducted among 659 17 to 29 year- olds interviewed by telephone June 15 – June 23rd, 2007. The poll was conducted jointly by CBS News, The New York Times and MTV. Respondents were part of nationwide representative samples identified in households previously interviewed by CBS News Polls and from random-digit dial samples. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 4% points for results based on the entire sample.
  • Joel Roberts

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