Exclusive new polling shows strengthening the economy and canceling federal student loan debt are top priorities for 18-36-year-olds in Arizona
Austin, TX — Today, NextGen America and Data for Progress released new research revealing strong enthusiasm among young Arizonans to vote in the upcoming 2022 election and underscoring the importance of enacting policies to strengthen the economy, reform the criminal justice system, address climate change and cancel student debt.
Young people in Arizona indicated excitement for voting in the upcoming midterm election, with 26 percent reporting being more enthusiastic about voting in 2022 than usual, along with 38 percent who said they’re just as enthusiastic as usual. Overall, the data shows a strong number of young Arizona residents are as enthusiastic or more enthusiastic about voting in 2022 compared to the 2020 presidential election — 64 percent overall.
“NextGen led the largest youth vote turnout in Arizona history in 2020. We saw what can happen when we invest in young people and move them to use their voices at the ballot box,” NextGen America President Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez said. “Our new data shows that young Arizonans remain fired up and ready to express their collective political power. NextGen is committed to keeping up the momentum for this diverse generation and building a future where every Arizonan is represented and respected.”
The NextGen America-Data for Progress poll also measured the top issues facing young people in Arizona. As young voters look ahead to the next election, they’re sending clear signals on their top priorities and the concerns they believe our leaders should be addressing.
Top of the mind for young Arizonans is the economy and canceling student loan debt. A 28-percent plurality of respondents identified “strengthening the economy” as the most important issue facing young people in Arizona, followed by 15 percent who called “canceling student debt” the single most important issue. When asked to identify their top-five issues, a stronger economy topped the list, with 68 percent saying it was among their top priorities.
In addition to strengthening the economy, young Arizonans are concerned about some of the most challenging issues a generation has ever been up against: 49 percent of respondents identified reforming the criminal justice system as a top-five issue, as well as 49 percent citing addressing climate change and transitioning to clean energy. Young people in Arizona also indicated concern for canceling student debt (46 percent said it was a top-five concern) and creating a pathway to citizenship for permanent residents (44 percent).
It is no surprise that canceling student debt is among the top issues for young Arizonans – there are nearly a million borrowers in the state, with an average balance of about $35,000. The polling found that young residents strongly support President Biden’s recent decision to extend the pause on student loan repayments until May 2022 (62 percent), which will provide much-needed economic support to hundreds of thousands of Arizonans. Additionally, 55 percent of respondents indicated support for canceling federal student loan debt altogether.
The poll’s release on Friday follows the launch of NextGen’s Arizona voter mobilization program for 2022 and beyond. NextGen is embarking on a $32 million voter-outreach program aimed at reaching 9.2 million voters between the ages of 18 and 35 across eight key states in 2022. In addition to Arizona, the program calls for organizing in Texas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.
More information on the NextGen America-Data For Progress Poll is available here:
About NextGen America
NextGen America is the leading national organization for engaging young people through voter education, registration and mobilization. We invite 18-to-35 year olds — the largest and most diverse generation in American history — into our democracy to ensure our government works for them and to find new solutions to the dire challenges facing our society and the world. Since 2013, NextGen America has registered more than 1.4 million young voters and educated many millions more, delivering more than the margin of victory for progressives in key races and building an electorate that will lead American politics for decades to come.