Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have radically different political standpoints, personal backgrounds, and hairstyles. But their young supporters agree on at least one thing: The American Dream is in dire straits.
Young people who support Sanders and Trump are less likely than young supporters of any other presidential candidate to agree with the statement that "the American Dream is alive for me." The finding comes from a Harvard Institute of Politics poll of 18-to-29-year-olds released Thursday.
Overall, about half of young people say the American Dream is alive for them, and half say it is dead for them. But only 39% of Trump supporters and 44% of Sanders supporters agree that the dream is alive—and that discontent is fueling their insurgent candidacies.
A Fusion poll published last week found that young people are significantly less likely than they were a generation ago to say that the American Dream has real meaning for them.
The Harvard poll, which interviewed 2,011 young people between late October and early November and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points, also captured a huge jump in support for Sanders since the beginning of the year.
He was the top Democratic presidential choice of only 1% of young people in the institute's poll this spring, compared with 41% last month. The November poll finds him beating Hillary Clinton among young people 41% to 35%.
In the Republican primary, Trump led among young people with 22%, topping Ben Carson at 20%—although, again, the poll was conducted more than a month ago. Since then, Carson has plummeted in national polls, while Trump has increased his lead.
On national security, 60% of young people who answered the poll after the Paris attacks said that they supported sending ground troops to fight ISIS. But just 16% of respondents said they were willing to serve in the military themselves.
Notably, young Latino Americans were significantly more likely to say they were willing to serve compared with other groups. And 66% of those who took the poll in Spanish said they believed the American Dream was alive for them, above the 49% overall.
The poll found that 56% of young people want a Democrat to win the presidency and 36% want a Republican. Overall, in this cycle, young people are more politically polarized than in previous years—just like the larger American electorate. The 2008 election, when 66% of young people supported Barack Obama, was a "true outlier," said John Della Volpe, the polling director of the Harvard institute.
"We've been seeing over the last four or five years that young people look more like the rest of Americans," he added.
Casey Tolan is a National News Reporter for Fusion based in New York City.