Young voters want a Democrat in the White House in 2016

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A strong majority of young voters would like to see a Democrat stay in the White House in 2016, according to a poll from the Harvard Institute of Politics, released on Wednesday.

Fifty-five percent of voters aged 18 to 29 said they’d like to see a Democrat win the presidential race, compared to 40 percent who said they hoped a Republican would be victorious.

Democrats are boosted in the poll by overwhelming support from young minority groups — 87 percent of young black voters polled said they want to see a Democrat in the White House, with 68 percent of young Hispanics saying the same.

However, a majority of young white voters, 53 percent, said they’d like to see a Republican in the White House in 2016, compared to 41 percent who said they want a Democrat.

The data underscores the issues facing the GOP in expanding the party’s appeal to the young voters and minorities that formed a crucial portion of President Obama’s coalition during his presidential runs in 2008 and 2012.

In 2012, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement found Obama won 67 percent of the young vote, compared to 30 percent for GOP nominee Mitt Romney. Had the two candidates split voters aged 18 to 29, Romney would have won the election, the analysis found. 

Among those young voters who would like to see a Democrat in the White House, former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonHannity tells Trump: I'm voting for you in November McConnell: ‘Ticket-splitting’ will preserve GOP Senate majority Romney signals interest in independent candidate MORE is far and away the front-runner, according to the Harvard poll of millennials. She takes 47 percent support in the poll, followed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBudowsky: The campaign from hell Sanders supporters have a point Dems see political gold in fight over Trump's taxes MORE at 11 percent, Vice President Biden at 8 percent and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley at 3 percent. 

On the Republican side, Ben Carson leads the tight field of GOP candidates among voters aged 18 to 29, although 36 percent said they’re undecided.

The retired neurosurgeon takes 10 percent in the new poll, followed by Kentucky Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulMillion-dollar super-PAC donation coming for Libertarian ticket Adelson aides in talks to make pro-Trump super PAC GOP senators move to keep women out of military draft MORE at 8 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 7 percent each, and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzJudge unseals documents on Trump University GOP senators move to keep women out of military draft GOP senators split over Cruz's aid on campaign trail MORE, and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at 5 percent each.

Carson is expected to announce that he’s officially entering the presidential race on Monday from his hometown of Detroit. He’s built a strong following of grassroots conservatives based on his personal story of rising out of poverty to become one of the foremost neurosurgeons in the world.

Paul, who finished second among millennials in the poll, has long had a strong grip on young voters, who generally support his libertarian-leaning views on issues like prison sentencing reform and rolling back the nation’s drug laws. 

Rounding out GOP field are New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 4 percent, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 3 percent, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum at 3 percent and Florida Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioThe Trail 2016: Biting the hand that feeds him Judge unseals documents on Trump University The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE coming in a distant 11th place at 2 percent.

President Obama is enjoying a nice boost among young voters. His job performance approval rating has leaped from 43 percent in October to 50 percent in the latest poll.

The Harvard poll was gathered through online interviews with 3,034 young adults between March 18 and April 1.

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