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Majority of Young Americans See Trump as ‘Illegitimate,’ Poll Finds

Posted on Mar 18, 2017

  A demonstrator during Inauguration Day protests in Washington, D.C. (Malcolm K. / CC 2.0)

A new poll has found that a majority of young Americans disapprove of President Trump’s performance, and a majority of those polled also view him as an “illegitimate” president.

The GenForward survey, conducted by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, questioned young Americans about Trump’s first 50 days in office and published the results in a report. The poll, according to the report, is “a nationally representative survey of over 1750 young adults ages 18-30 conducted bimonthly.”

The findings “show that young people widely disapprove of Donald Trump and his administration and young people express considerable concern about the direction of the country under the new president,” although these opinions “vary widely across race and ethnicity.”

For instance, when it comes to approval of Trump’s performance thus far, the report states:

[Y]oung people largely disapprove of the job Donald Trump has been doing as president. Majorities of African Americans (71%), Asian Americans (69%), Latino/as (72%) and whites (55%) disapprove of Donald Trump’s performance so far as president. But … these negative evaluations are far more pronounced among young people of color—who express the strongest disapproval of his job as president—than among young whites. …

The data reveal that large majorities of every racial and ethnic group say that both Trump’s policies and his demeanor as president have been bad. Echoing the finding above, these negative perceptions are more common among young people of color than young whites.

And when it comes to Trump’s “legitimacy” as president, the survey finds that 57 percent of young adults view his presidency as “illegitimate.” The report notes, however, that this number varies widely among ethnic and racial lines:

[A] majority of whites (53%) says Trump is a legitimate president, while only 25% of African Americans, 36% of Asian Americans, and 28% of Latino/as agree. By contrast, majorities of young adults of color—including 74% of African Americans, 60% of Asian Americans, 71% of Latino/as—say that Trump is an illegitimate president, a view shared by fewer (47%) whites. Thus, the concerns that young people of color have about Donald Trump are widespread and extend to basic considerations about the legitimacy of his presidency.

The survey also asked young Americans if they believe the country is headed “off on the wrong track” or “in the right direction.”

“68% of African Americans and Asian Americans, 64% of Latino/as, and 61% of whites say that things in this country are off on the wrong track,” the report says. “By contrast, only 11% of African Americans, 15% of Asian Americans and Latino/as, and 21% of whites say the country is headed in the right direction.”

This negative outlook is echoed in results on questions pertaining to Congress, both political parties and others in Trump’s administration. Many young Americans also expressed concern over Trump’s relationship with Russia.

The silver lining, it seems, is that many millennials are engaging in political activism as a result of their opposition to the Trump administration.

“For example, of those who contacted a public official, many more did so in opposition to President Trump rather than in support of Trump,” the report says. It notes that, although much of this opposition is taking place online, there is widespread support for protests among young Americans.

Finally, the poll analyzes which issues are currently the most important to young Americans—and the results vary starkly. Read the full report here.

—Posted by Emma Niles

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