Protesters rally against an appearance by former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. (Trent Nelson/Salt Lake Tribune/AP)

Everybody has a millennial problem.

Although more than 4 in 10 millennials identify as independents, according to the Pew Research Center, history has shown that most young adults vote for the Democratic Party. But Hillary Clinton learned in 2016 that millennials don't always turn out at the rates candidates need them to.

National exit poll data show Clinton underperformed Barack Obama's 2012 share of the vote by one percentage point with those between 30 and 44 and by three points with those ages 45 to 64. She actually outperformed him by one point with those over 65.

And that may not change in upcoming elections.

Overall, a third of millennials said that neither party cares about people like them, according to a new NBC News/GenForward survey. And the group that feels most disaffected is white men — most of whom voted for President Trump in 2016.

Most male millennials (57 percent) and most white millennials (61 percent) believe neither party cares for them.

Fewer than half — 43 percent — of millennials have a favorable view of the Democratic Party. And almost half — 46 percent — say that the party doesn't care about people like them. Those numbers are better than the group's perception of the GOP. Only 3 in 10 millennials think the Republican Party cares about them.

And it gets far more interesting when you parse the data.


In line with other polls, millennials of color have more favorable views of the Democratic Party. At least half of nonwhite millennials have a favorable view of the Democratic Party. But sizable numbers of millennials in those groups — African American (31 percent), Asian American (30 percent) and Latino (37 percent) — said the Democratic Party does not care about people like them.

As much as is made of the GOP's problem with minority voters, the Democrats are having a problem with white millennials. Most white millennials — 55 percent — said the Democratic Party does not care about people like them. White millennials are also the only group that holds a more unfavorable view of Democrats (54 percent) than favorable (33 percent).

But white millennials also hold nearly equally unfavorable views of the Republican Party (53 percent) and 60 percent of them said the GOP doesn’t care about people like them.

Party leaders seem to be aware that there is a problem and are working to fix it. Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel told Georgetown students this month that she knows the GOP has a millennial problem.

“Part of it is showing up,” she told Mo Elleithee, executive director of the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service. “We have to show up on campus. We have to have that dialogue. We have to talk about issues that matter. When you're in college it's easier to be issue-focused.”

“What do they say? When you're in college, you're a Democrat until you get a job and then you're a Republican,” she added.

And Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez is spending the semester at Brown University as a senior fellow engaging millennials on politics and policy ideas, a party spokeswoman told The Fix.

“The millennial generation is one of the most diverse generations in our lifetime and critical to the Democratic Party,” Xochitl Hinojosa said. “That is why the DNC is committed to meaningful engagement year-round and not just every fourth October during a presidential election.”

Whether these efforts will be fruitful remains to be seen. More than 4 in 10 young voters said they are uncertain about how they'll vote in next year's midterm elections.

Even if neither party has the millennial vote locked up, they must know that Trump certainly doesn't. The group overwhelmingly disapproves of the way Trump is handling his job.