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Young Cruz, Kasich And Trump Supporters Debate The Issues At CBS Radio Event

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As the presidential candidates make last-minute pitches to New York voters ahead of the state's primary Tuesday, CBS Radio brought together three young GOP supporters to find out what matters most to them in this election.

On Monday, supporters of Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Donald Trump debated the issues at Adorama Live Theater at CBS Radio Hudson Square Studios. WCBS 880's Marla Diamond and 1010 WINS' Sonia Rincon moderated the event, along with Rock the Vote's Sarah Audelo.

The participants in Monday's debate said that although their generation appears to have more liberal views on the social issues, those are not the issues that should determine their votes.


"I think politically they're conservative and I think that for an election you don't vote based on the social views, you vote based on the bigger, broader issues at hand," Madilynn, a Trump supporter, said.

Another supporter, Johannnes, said he believes the Republican Party will start winning over the millennial votes as their generation gets older.

PHOTO: Young Republicans Debate at CBS Radio Event

"A lot of millennials are still going into the workforce or are still in college, I think when they're in that stage, social issues tend to be their highest priority," Johannnes, a Kasich supporter, said. "I think over time eventually they'll switch to the fiscal issues."

"The social issues are really not major issues that are going to determine this election," GOP supporter Neil said.

All three participants agreed that job creation, the economic environment and national security are their main concerns this election season.

"As a millennial you graduate college, you have all of this student loan debt," Neil said. "We need jobs, and we need jobs for young people."

The discussion was dominated by talk of GOP front-runner Trump and it turned a bit heated as the panelists dived into his national security plan. Neil said Trump has been too aggressive in burning bridges with the Republican establishment, while Madilynn defended Trump saying he can work with others.

"He wouldn't be as successful as he is if he couldn't work with others," she added.

Last Friday, six young Democrats — three Bernie Sanders supporters and three Hillary Clinton supporters — took the same stage and sparred over the economy, voter registration roadblocks, and the role of social media in the presidential race.

The Republican supporters at Monday's event said social media has has exposed more people to the issues, but that the tool can have repercussions.

"People our age are not paying attention to it [the election] as much in the main stream media, they're following social media," said Neil, who added social media can be dangerous "if people trust anything they read" on Facebook and Twitter.

PHOTO: Young Democrats Debate 

New York is a coveted prize in the presidential race, offering the most delegates of any contest left on the calendar until California's June 7 primary. Tuesday's primary will be the first time the Empire State has played a meaningful role in the nominating process in decades.

Millennials could also play a big role in this year's presidential election.

This is the first time registered millennials match the number of baby boomer voters, according to projections from the nonpartisan States of Change project. That means young voters have about as much power in this election as their parents.

Millennials are the largest generation in U.S. history, but in every election dating back to 1988, people aged 18 to 29 turned out to vote at lower rates than all other age groups. There are signs they could still buck this trend.

Now it's just a matter of exercising that power.

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