More than 9 in 10 registered Gen Z college students plan to vote in the upcoming election
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. (NYSE: BNED), a leading provider of educational products and services solutions for higher education and K-12 institutions, today announced the findings from its “Conversations with Gen Z: The Election Year” report.
Conducted by Barnes & Noble College Insights℠, the report surveyed 1,500 Gen Z college students nationwide to get an initial snapshot of their attitudes and behaviors around voting ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Respondents shared their thoughts on how they learn about presidential candidates and what political issues are most important to them.
“Our report’s findings confirm what we’ve already gathered in past research about Gen Z – this is a vocal and passionate generation,” said Michael Huseby, CEO and Chairman, BNED. “The upcoming 2020 election will be the first major election that Gen Z will be eligible to vote in, and they will not miss the opportunity to contribute to the political conversation and have their voices heard.”
Some of the top findings and trends from the “Conversations with Gen Z: The Election Year” report include:
Gen Z is ready to cast their votes for the first time and know what issues are important to them
The report reveals that Gen Z’s showing at the polls in 2020 will be strong – more than 9 in 10 (95%) registered college students plan to vote in the upcoming presidential election. This is substantial considering only 50% of eligible Millennials voted in the 2016 election, according to the Brookings Institution.
While it’s too soon to gauge which candidates this generation will vote for, Gen Z has spoken out about the political party they identify with. Most respondents identify as either Democratic (64%) or Republican (32%). When it comes to the issues Gen Z will be paying attention to this election season, their top priorities include gun violence/mass shootings (71%), the health of the environment (69%) and immigration (64%).
Though it’s clear that Gen Z have strong intentions to participate in the 2020 election, more than half of respondents don’t plan to get involved other than casting their vote. The full report digs deeper into what types of activities students who do plan to get involved will partake in.
Gen Z and Millennials differ when it comes to sharing political opinions on social media
Just over one-third of respondents feel that “who I vote for is private information” while 64% said they do discuss political issues with family and/or friends. According to a separate report from Achieve and the Case Foundation, Millennials posted on social media about issues they cared about on a weekly basis during the 2016 election while only 18% of Gen Z said they share their opinions about politics on social media in Barnes & Noble College’s survey.
“Despite growing up in the era of social media, our findings show that Gen Z will be much less likely to use public channels to display their opinions ahead, during and after the 2020 election,” said Huseby. “But it turns out that they are indeed contributing to the conversation in a very personal way by engaging in conversations with their family and friends.”
Trustworthiness of media is top of mind for Gen Z ahead of the election
Gen Z plans to stay well-informed on the political landscape as it evolves during the pre-election period, but 75% say it’s difficult to find unbiased news sources. Another 30% say they are unsure of most sources’ trustworthiness. Written news publications and podcasts are perceived as most trustworthy and word of mouth and social media platforms are perceived as least trustworthy by Gen Z.
The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, CNN and USA Today are the top 5 most trustworthy publications in the eyes of Gen Z.
Barnes & Noble College Insights conducted an online quantitative survey among 1,500 Gen Z college students nationwide asking about election voting, research, and political issues that are most important to them.
About Barnes & Noble Education
Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. (NYSE: BNED) is a leading provider of higher education and K-12 educational products and solutions. Through its Barnes & Noble College and MBS Textbook Exchange segments, Barnes & Noble Education operates 1,453 physical and virtual bookstores across the U.S., serving more than 6 million students and faculty. Through its Digital Student Solutions segment, the Company offers direct-to-student products and services that help students study more effectively and improve academic performance, enabling them to gain the valuable skills necessary to succeed after college. The Company also operates one of the largest textbook wholesale distribution channels in the United States. For more information please visit www.bned.com.
BNED companies include: Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC, MBS Textbook Exchange, LLC, BNED LoudCloud, LLC, Student Brands, LLC, Promoversity, LLC, and PaperRater, LLC. General information on Barnes & Noble Education may be obtained by visiting the Company’s corporate website: www.bned.com.
Carolyn J. Brown
Senior Vice President
Corporate Communications & Public Affairs