(NBC News)

Young voters are shifting their glance. Some surefire stars have fizzled while doomed candidacies have bounced from the brink.

Most notable are the opposite trajectories of Elizabeth Warren and Beto O'Rourke. While Warren polled at only 5% in April, she has since raced to the top tier with about 15% of the student vote. O'Rourke, however, has seen his momentum freeze despite the wide name recognition he enjoyed from the starting gate.

Essential takeaways:

  • Trump sticks: At about 17%, President Trump's share of the student vote has held firm for months. Students who back Trump don't seem to be going anywhere compared to the support for other candidates, which are still fluid. While he's on top, the important thing to remember is that while Trump sits atop the rankings, about 85% of students don't support him. So far, student support is split across different Democratic candidates and likely won't concentrate until the convention.

  • Warren's soarin' (apologies for the rhyme): Senator Warren has emphatically boosted her stock among students (and the general electorate for that matter). She doesn't ride viral clips or Tweet-friendly soundbites, but instead has staked her status as the candidate for liberal students who know their stuff.

  • Beto slides: Beto O'Rourke's candidacy was coated in stardust from its inception. Despite spirited pitches for popular policy, Beto hasn't been able to hold young people's attention. He's surely beefed up his policy portfolio, but may be hurting from the lack of Ted Cruz as a foil.

Below is the full Student Presidential Support Index for August:

Student Presidential Support Index, n=858 | August 2nd-3rd | m.o.e +/- 3%

  1. Trump 16.7% (+2)
  2. Sanders 16.6% (+2)
  3. Biden 15.7% (-3)
  4. Warren 14.8 (+9)
  5. Buttigieg 8.0% (-)
  6. Yang 6.4% (*)
  7. O'Rourke 6.0% (-8)
  8. Harris 5.0% (-1)
  9. Booker 2.6% (-)
  10. Gabbard 1.6% (*)
  11. Castro 1.0% (*)
  12. Delaney 1.0% (*)


Data in this report are generated from a poll conducted between August 2nd-3rd, 2019. A total of 858 panelists participated in the poll. The margin of error for the full sample is +/- 3 points

            College Reaction’s polling is conducted using a demographically-representative panel of college students from around the country. The surveys are administered via college e-mail address to ensure current enrollment in a four-year institution. The target population for the general population sample was students currently enrolled in accredited 4-year institutions in the US.

Respondents in this poll were randomly selected from a ~10,000 respondent database, which aims to mirror the broader college demographic from a racial, geographic and political standpoint. Results are weighted to mirror race and gender statistics of the college demographic as defined by the National Center for Education statistics.

College Reaction sends the survey to the randomly-generated sample of students via email. The email asks the respondent to complete the attached survey. Student typically have 24-48 hours to fill out the given survey.


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