Millennials do not trust Clinton, so why are they still voting for her?
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Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonChelsea Clinton: Pics of Trump getting vaccinated would help him 'claim credit' Why does Bernie Sanders want to quash Elon Musk's dreams? Republican legislators target private sector election grants MORE has a youth problem.


Recently, two different polls were conducted by Suffolk University on Oct. 6 and Nov. 3. Among millennial respondents in the Oct. 6 poll, 50 percent of respondents said Clinton was not trustworthy. By Nov. 3, however, the number of respondents who answered the same increased to 69 percent. 

A Quinnipiac University poll conducted in August asked respondents: “Is your opinion of Hillary Clinton favorable or unfavorable?” Of the millennial respondents, more than a third — 35 percent —  responded with “Strongly Unfavorable.” 

These polls demonstrate that Clinton has a problem with favorability and trustworthiness among millennials — who overtook Baby Boomers earlier this year as the largest living generation (and largest voting bloc). However, when we look at the overall presidential polls, in regards to millennial votes, Clinton has the lead. 

Harvard University’s Institute of Politics (IOP) poll, conducted from Oct. 7 – Oct. 17, has Clinton receiving 49 percent of likely young voters’ support while Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpBiden administration still seizing land near border despite plans to stop building wall: report Illinois House passes bill that would mandate Asian-American history lessons in schools Overnight Defense: Administration says 'low to moderate confidence' Russia behind Afghanistan troop bounties | 'Low to medium risk' of Russia invading Ukraine in next few weeks | Intelligence leaders face sharp questions during House worldwide threats he MORE only receives 21 percent. 

So why are these millennials, who dislike and distrust Clinton, still going to vote for her?

Reason One — Antipathy for Trump 

An article published by Time on Oct. 25 gives some insight as to why Clinton is popular with millennials:

“Much of Clinton’s newfound popularity among millennials is redirected antipathy for Donald Trump, who is widely despised among young people as a cultural throwback.”

Clinton is an intelligent woman (she did get away with deleting 33,000 emails), she knows that Trump is not popular among the millennial crowd because he talks about deporting illegal immigrants, building a border wall, strengthening the military, and locking her up.

Indeed, as high as Clinton’s unfavorables are with this cohort, Trump’s are even worse. A Quinnipiac University poll released earlier this year found Trump is the far more detested candidate, with a majority of millennials — 61 percent — having a strongly unfavorable opinion of the Republican.

Clinton plays this to her advantage by acting as the savior candidate. The candidate who invites all into the country, legalizing illegals, not building a wall, and — the topic that is most popular among younger millennials — making college tuition free (nice dream world, Hillary). 

Reason Two — Clinton’s Appeal 

Clinton promotes her millennial-friendly “love trumps hate” message to push her own agenda and secure votes and, even though these young voters are suspicious of her, the messaging appears to be working. 

The Fall 2016 Harvard University IOP poll asked millennial respondents aged 18 to 29 specific policy questions on topics of inequality, uniting the country, immigration, economy, terrorism, and reducing the impact of money in politics. On all these topics, respondents overwhelmingly sided with Clinton.

A majority of millennials are represented by college students aged from 18-25. Last year, the Higher Education Research Institute — a group based at the University of California, Los Angeles — polled 141,189 people who represent the country’s full-time, first-year students starting four-year colleges and universities in the fall of 2015.

Of the respondents questioned, 80 percent said that their top concern was helping those in difficulty.

Now, put on your Trump lenses and consider these two ideas: deport illegals and build a wall, both of which are constitutionally justifiable.

Now, put on your Hillary lenses: allow illegal immigrants to stay in the country, don’t build a wall. In fact, let’s even increase immigration from the Middle East by 500 percent, as Clinton supports.

The respondents to the Higher Education Research Institute care about helping others. Which candidate puts on the façade of helping others while actually advocating policies that will be detrimental to the country? Hillary.

In the wake of the FBI’s announcement that it is continuing the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, I appeared on the University of Delaware campus to poll students about whether they will vote for the Democratic candidate.

One student, Matt Butler, told me:

“Yes, in the sense that I believe she's more than capable of the job of President. I don't trust her as much as other politicians, as a person she seems fairly shady, but on the other hand I believe much of the outrage over her trustworthiness is overblown.”

Butler added that he’s voting for Clinton because her drawbacks “are easily outweighed by the fact that the other real contender is Donald Trump.”

This is how Clinton pushes her agenda in her pursuit of the White House. She taps into the younger voter’s antipathy for Trump, while at the same time uses policy positions and rhetoric pleasing to millennials.  

That’s how Clinton manages to keep her appeal high, even while her trustworthiness stays low. Would this strategy have worked if she was faced with any other opponent than Donald Trump? It’s unlikely — and that betrays Clinton’s real weakness as a candidate, and her real weakness among millennials today. 

Yzaguirre is the president of Students for Self-Defense. For more information on the Second Amendment Institute or Students for Self-Defense, please email

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.