Six in Ten Latino Teens Identified as Democrats And Most Prefer Bernie Sanders as President
A new Hispanic Heritage Foundation and My College Options survey finds that high school students consider education and the economy to be the two most important issues leading into the 2016 presidential election.
The national poll of 103,354 high school students between the ages of 14 to 18 found that that 44 percent deem education to be the most critical issue of the election season, followed by the economy at 39 percent.
The youth vote figures to be among the most critical voting blocs in the race to emerge as President Barack Obama's successor and data shows teens are virtually equally split in terms of what party they self-identify with. In all, 43 percent of respondents revealed they consider themselves to be Democrats, compared to 40 percent who count themselves as Republicans.
Most Young Voters Prefer Bernie Sanders
A clear majority of all the respondents preferred liberal-minded, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders as the candidate they most favor. Throughout much of the campaign season, young democratic voters have overwhelmingly gravitated toward Sanders.
While youth voter turnout typically lags, pollsters found that 62 percent of the 28,141 teens surveyed that will be eligible to vote come November's general election plan to do so.
The study found six in every ten Latinos identify as Democrats, with just 26 percent of respondents considering themselves members of the GOP.
Among those surveyed, Sanders leads overall democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton 43 percent to 16 percent. By comparison, Republican front-runner Donald Trump managed just six percent support.
Latinos also proved to be the group that most believes immigration to be a key issue in the overall presidential debate at 30 percent.
"At the Hispanic Heritage Foundation we have tremendous respect for what youth thinks, believes and needs," said Jose Antonio Tijerino, president and CEO of HHF. "The youth vote can make an indelible impact on the 2016 presidential election, Senate and House races and the direction of the country. I look at this survey as providing us all with important guidance on how to better understand and serve our youth."
Most Youths Believe Country Headed in Wrong Direction
Overall, 47 percent of respondents indicated they believe the country is not heading in the right direction, against just 10 percent who see things much more positively. Nearly four in 10, or 38 percent, of all youth approve of the job being done by President Obama.
Surveyors found among first time voters Sanders attracts the most support at 35 percent, compared to 19 percent for Trump and 12 percent for Clinton. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz languishes in single digits at 8 percent.
Of all those surveyed, 47 percent indicated they would vote democratically, compared to 44 percent who lean republican.
My College Option is the nation's largest college planning program with roughly 5.5 students participating, while the Hispanic Heritage Foundation prides itself on preparing and connecting Latinos in the classroom, community and workforce to one another.