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President Donald Trump listens during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, March 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

A new poll reveals most young Americans see Trump as an illegitimate president

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Jermaine Anderson keeps going back to the same memory of Donald Trump, then a candidate for president of the United States, referring to some Mexican immigrants as rapists and murderers.

"You can't be saying that (if) you're the president," says Anderson, a 21-year-old student from Coconut Creek, Florida.


That Trump is undeniably the nation's 45th president doesn't sit easily with young Americans like Anderson who are the nation's increasingly diverse electorate of the future, according to a new poll.

A majority of young adults 57 percent see Trump's presidency as illegitimate, including about three-quarters of blacks and large majorities of Latinos and Asians, the GenForward poll found.

GenForward is a poll of adults age 18 to 30 conducted by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.


A slim majority of young whites in the poll, 53 percent, consider Trump a legitimate president, but even among that group 55 percent disapprove of the job he's doing, according to the survey.

"That's who we voted for. And obviously America wanted him more than Hillary Clinton," said Rebecca Gallardo, a 30-year-old nursing student from Kansas City, Missouri, who voted for Trump.


Trump's legitimacy as president was questioned earlier this year by Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.: "I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton."

Trump routinely denies that and says he captured the presidency in large part by winning states such as Michigan and Wisconsin that Clinton may have taken for granted. Overall, just 22 percent of young adults approve of the job he is doing as president, while 62 percent disapprove.


Megan Desrochers, a 21-year-old student from Lansing, Michigan, says her sense of Trump's illegitimacy is more about why he was elected.

"I just think it was kind of a situation where he was voted in based on his celebrity status verses his ethics," she said, adding that she is not necessarily against Trump's immigration policies.

The poll participants said in interviews that they don't necessarily vote for one party's candidates over another's, a prominent tendency among young Americans, experts say.


And in the survey, neither party fares especially strongly.

Just a quarter of young Americans have a favorable view of the Republican Party, and 6 in 10 have an unfavorable view. Majorities of young people across racial and ethnic lines hold negative views of the GOP. The Democratic Party performs better, but views aren't overwhelmingly positive. Young people are more likely to have a favorable than an unfavorable view of the Democratic Party by a 47 percent to 36 percent margin. But just 14 percent say they have a strongly favorable view of the Democrats.

As for Trump, 8 in 10 young people think he is doing poorly in terms of the policies he's put forward and 7 in 10 have negative views of his presidential demeanor.

"I do not like him as a person," says Rebecca Gallardo, a 30-year-old nursing student from Kansas City, Missouri of Trump. She nonetheless voted for Trump because she didn't trust Clinton.

"I felt like there wasn't much choice."

--The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read the full report from the study here.

The poll of 1,833 adults age 18-30 was conducted Feb. 16 through March 6 using a sample drawn from the probability-based GenForward panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. young adult population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4 percentage points. The survey was paid for by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago, using grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation. Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.

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