Hillary Clinton is ahead of Donald Trump by nearly 20 points among millennials, according to a new Harvard Institute of Politics poll, but the issue might not be solely about the candidates themselves, the poll's director said Thursday.
"I said on this set a few years ago, this was a Republican's election to lose, and they're doing a great job," poll director John Della Volpe told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "Donald Trump's favorable rating is at 17 percent, essentially frozen there over the last six months. Hillary Clinton's is out-Obamaing Obama, if you can believe that in the final weeks of this campaign."
But it's not just about Trump, he continued, but rather is "between the youth election between Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson and the couch."
However, Johnson had an audition of sorts on the "Morning Joe" program, Della Volpe said, but he "failed it" with his "Aleppo moment," and lost six points in polling among millennials almost overnight.
"Most of those numbers went to Hillary Clinton," Della Volpe said.
According to the poll of voters ages 18-29:
- Clinton: 49 percent;
- Trump: 21 percent;
- Johnson: 14 percent;
- Green Party nominee Jill Stein: 5 percent.
And in a two-way matchup, Clinton received 59 percent of the millennials' support, while Trump was backed by just 25 percent.
Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson, also on the morning program, said there is always some excuse for losing young voters. For example, she said, in 2008, President Barack Obama was "a really exciting" figure, but then four years later, Obama was on the ballot again.
"Hillary Clinton's favorable rating in this Harvard poll is 40 percent," she said. "It's not great. Her favorable for millennials didn't look better than the rest of the electorate. But she's winning at margins greater than Obama. This is not just about Obama and just because of hope and change, this is not just because young people tend to lean to the left, because that's not always necessarily true."
And four years ago, Republicans were able to at least tie when it came to millennials, but now, an electoral map that came out this week, showed if only millennials voted, it would be "blue, blue, blue," Anderson said.
"It's not about one candidate or one election," she continued. "It's about a generation that now, since they turned 18, the oldest edge of millennials who haven't had an inspiring Republican to vote for. If we don't turn this around immediately with a new candidate, new message that actually speaks to this generation, we'll have lost them for decades."
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