A new national poll of America’s 18- to 29-year-olds by the Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School finds 52 percent of young Americans and 58 percent of likely general election voters under 30 believe that President Trump should be impeached and removed from office.

“Young Americans are divided on the scope of change they seek in Washington. Among likely 2020 young voters, pragmatic has taken the lead in the race between pragmatic and progressive,” said John Della Volpe, director of polling at the IOP. “When looking at young Democratic primary voters, bold structural change is preferred, but not by as much as you might think.”

When young Americans were asked to choose between two potential governing philosophies, more (40 percent) prefer than oppose policies that “stand a good chance of being achieved as opposed to sweeping changes that will be difficult to carry out.” Slightly more than a third (34 percent) prefer the alternative “big structural policy changes that address the urgency of the problems that we are facing, even if they will not be easy to carry out.”

Among young Americans who are most likely to vote in the November 2020 general election, we find support for the more pragmatic approach, 44 to 40 percent.

However, for those likely to vote in a Democratic primary, preferences were reversed. Forty-five percent of these voters prefer the approach that deals with “big, structural policy changes that address the urgency of the problems that we are facing, even if they will not be easy to carry out,” compared to 39 percent who prefer the more pragmatic position.

“Findings from the Harvard Youth Poll show that young Americans are open to ideas that older generations have traditionally written off. Voters under 30 are not bound by precedent or old institutional norms, said Richard Sweeney ’21, Harvard College and co-chair of the Harvard Public Opinion Project. “Proponents of structural reforms shouldn’t take young voters for granted, and those who favor a more gradual approach shouldn’t write us off. Millennials and Gen Z-ers will be one-third of the eligible voting population in 2020. We’re listening, and we’re voting.”

Top findings of this survey, the 38th in a biannual series, include the following:

  • More young Americans support dismantling the Electoral College than oppose
  • More young Americans support eliminating private health insurance than oppose
  • Majority of young Americans support background checks and assault weapon ban; more support mandatory buyback program for assault weapons than oppose
  • Most young Americans supportive of billionaires, only 16 percent don’t think they shouldn’t be able to exist
  • Other than a change from the current path, there is no youth consensus for best approach moving forward
  • As the election nears, Democrats are becoming more hopeful about America
  • Young Republicans are far less comfortable sharing their political views with professors than Democrats and Independents
  • Youth, especially Democrats, are more engaged than at the same point in the 2016 contests.
  • Democrats and Republicans value different attributes in presidential candidates.
  • Trump enjoys a commanding lead in the Republican primary against Weld, Walsh, and Sanford.
  • In the 2020 general election, more than two-thirds of youth are likely to vote against Donald Trump.
  • Approval ratings of President Trump, Democrats and Republicans in Congress, largely unchanged since the Spring 2019 IOP Youth Poll.

In a separate interview, John Della Volpe, Harvard Public Opinion Project chair Richard Sweeney, and project member Cathy Sun ’22, answer questions about the results and what they mean.

For the full release.