NEW YORK — Donald Trump is wildly unpopular among young adults, in particular young people of colour, and nearly two-thirds of Americans between the ages of 18 and 30 believe the presumptive Republican nominee is racist.
That's the finding of a new GenForward poll that also found just 19 per cent of young people have a favourable opinion of Trump compared to the three-quarters of young adults who hold a dim view of the New York billionaire.
Donald Trump poses with a ring given to him by a group of veterans during a campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa in January 2016. (Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP)
Trump's likely general election opponent, Hillary Clinton, is also unpopular with young people, but not nearly to the same extent as the real estate mogul and realty TV star. A mere 6 per cent of young African Americans, 10 per cent of young Hispanics, 12 per cent of young Asian Americans and 27 per cent of young whites see Trump in a favourable light, ratings that suggest the celebrity businessman faces a staggering task this summer to win their backing in his bid for the White House.
"I think if you want to be a moral young person, you can't support Trump," said Miguel Garcia, 20, of Norwalk, California.
The grandson of Mexican immigrants and a college student who also works at a tire shop, Garcia is a registered Democrat who has not chosen a candidate to support this fall — but is resolute in his disdain for Trump.
"It's really hard to back anything Trump does," Garcia said. "He just says prejudiced stuff."
"I think if you want to be a moral young person, you can't support Trump."
GenForward is a survey by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research . The first-of-its-kind poll pays special attention to the voices of young adults of colour, highlighting how race and ethnicity shape the opinions of the country's most diverse generation.
The GenForward survey is a poll of adults between the age of 18 and 30, not necessarily registered or likely voters. Those surveyed may not end up voting, or casting a ballot for either major party candidate for president.
The poll found that only 39 per cent of young people have a favourable opinion of Clinton to 54 per cent who have an unfavourable view of the presumptive Democratic nominee.
Clinton the 'lesser of two evils'
Desiree Batista, a former supporter of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, said she was "picking the lesser of two evils" in backing Clinton, a decision she reached in part because she believes Trump "was unqualified" to be president.
"I just don't think he's fit to be a presidential candidate," said Batista, a 21-year-old college student from Colonia, New Jersey. "I understand people like him as a businessman, even though I don't feel the same way."
The depth of animosity toward Trump among young Americans may be driven by the two-thirds of those who believe he is racist. That includes nearly 6 in 10 whites, and more than three-quarters of African Americans, Hispanics and Asians.
Trump launched his campaign last summer by accusing some immigrants from Mexico of being rapists and bringing drugs into the country. He later vowed to temporarily bar foreign Muslims from entering the U.S., a position from which he has recently backed away.
Some respect his business skills
"Clearly, from what Trump has said he can be categorized as racist," said Barrett Coleman, a 28-year-old graduate student from Richmond, Virginia, who is supporting Clinton. "His comments about Mexicans, in particular, are just awful."
A Trump's spokeswoman did not return messages seeking comment about the GenForward poll, which found he does have some supporters among young people. Nour El Hanly, a 20-year-old student from Chicago, is a Muslim of Moroccan descent who said he found Clinton "corrupt" and will "continue failing Obama policies."
"I do not favour all of (Trump's) rhetoric, but he's a smart businessman who will help the nation's economy," said El Hanly, a Republican. He said he favoured Trump's plan to strengthen security along the U.S. border with Mexico, but doesn't think Trump will follow through on any sort of plan to bar Muslims from the country.
"Most of my friends don't agree, but I think he is the best choice," he said.
'He's not focused on equality'
Still, the poll found little common ground between young Americans and Trump. About 7 in 10 oppose Trump's proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from other countries from entering the United States. Seven in 10 oppose his plan to build a wall along the U.S. southern border. Six in 10 say immigrants in the country illegally should be allowed to stay, including large majorities of young Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian-Americans and about half of young whites.
Nathan Mclendon, a 22-year-old African-American independent, said he doesn't believe Trump can relate to the concerns of young voters or people of colour.
"He doesn't understand what we're going through. He's not focused on equality," said Mclendon, of Tampa, Florida. "I don't find him trustworthy. And I'm not sure he cares."