Exclusive new polling shows strengthening the economy and increasing the minimum wage are top priorities for 18-36-year-old Texans
Austin, TX — Today, NextGen America and Data for Progress released new research revealing strong support among young Texans for Beto O’Rourke’s gubernatorial bid in the upcoming midterm election. The data also underscores young people’s support for enacting policies to strengthen the economy, increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, cancel student loan debt and reform the criminal justice system.
In a head-to-head matchup between Beto O’Rourke and incumbent Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, 50 percent of young Texans support Beto, compared to just 33 percent for Abbott. A plurality likewise view Beto favorably, while Abbott’s favorability and job approval are both deep under water among this key cohort of Texans.
That said, the data also shows young Texas Republicans today are more enthusiastic about the upcoming election than Democrats — and more likely to vote. 74 percent of Republicans stated they definitely or probably will vote, compared to only 64 percent of Democrats. While 77 percent of registered voters are as excited or more excited to vote this upcoming cycle, a majority of the unregistered respondents are less enthusiastic or don’t know whether or not they’ll vote in 2022 – reinforcing the importance of investing in outreach to new voters to communicate the urgency and stakes of the upcoming midterm.
We know young Texans overwhelmingly support candidates who will fight for their futures by advancing progressive policies — we can see it in the data. But the data also proves the importance of building new democratic infrastructure,” NextGen America President Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez said. “If Beto and other Democrats want to win, they need young people to turn out like never before.”
The NextGen America-Data for Progress poll also measured the top issues facing young people in Texas. 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.
At the top of their list is the economy. An 18-percent plurality of respondents identified “strengthening the economy” as the most important issue facing young people in Texas, and 52 percent said it was among the top five most important.
Fifty-one percent of young Texans cited increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour as a top-five issue, and 48 percent included cancelling student debt on their list, further underscoring the importance of economic wellbeing to this crucial voting bloc.
The poll’s release on Wednesday follows NextGen’s launch of its first-ever state program in Texas for the upcoming midterm election. 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 Texas, the program calls for on-the-ground field organizing in Arizona, North Carolina Pennsylvania as well as a distributed digital organizing program in 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.