NEW YORK, May 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- If elections were held today and tweens and teens ages 9 to 17 were able to vote, 41% would vote for Hillary Clinton from a field of presidential hopefuls and other prominent politicians. Runner-up Jeb Bush would secure only 10% of the hypothetical vote. Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz would each shore up 5 to 7% of votes, and Elizabeth Warren, Bobby Jindal, and Cory Booker would capture less than 2% each, according to a new study released by youth market research firm Smarty Pants.
Familiarity is on Clinton's side. She has the highest tween/teen awareness (85%) among presidential contenders. Jeb Bush, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz follow with 41%, 26% and 24% awareness, respectively. But name recognition is both an asset and liability for Clinton. As one 9-year-old girl states, "She is an awesome person and knows about being president." But a 15-year-old boy adds, "I don't know anything really about her except that she was Bill Clinton's wife and the former secretary of state."
When asked "How would you feel if Hillary Clinton were elected to be the country's first female President," more than half of America's future voters respond favorably, with 30% stating "that would be awesome!" and an additional 23% saying "that would be okay." Conversely, only one in four reacts says "that would not be good" (9%) or "that would be terrible!" (16%).
"One of the most interesting findings is that tweens' and teens' gender plays a small role in Clinton's favorability," says Dr. Michelle Poris, quantitative research director at Smarty Pants. Girls are slightly more likely than boys to believe the next president should "definitely be a woman", but, overall, girls and boys tend to be neutral on the gender of the next president – 48% saying it doesn't matter, 29% leaning female, 23% leaning male.
Young people to call out aspects of Clinton's personality or experience when explaining their position, although some comment on her gender. "She's smart, thinks of others economically and as a female will not be stubborn and macho," writes a 15-year-old male teen. "Having a female president is well overdue," adds a female peer.
Not surprisingly, tweens' and teens' perceptions of presidential candidates are closely linked to their parents'. Youth with Democratic parents are three times more likely to think the next president should definitely or probably be a woman. And tweens and teens with Republican parents are 10 times more likely to say Clinton serving as the first female president "would be horrible." As one teen shares: "I do not know much about politicians and I do not vote, [but] my parents do not like her, so she must be a bad person."
The study was conducted online among a representative sample of U.S. households with children. Fielded between April 22 and May 1, 2015, a total of 695 youth ages 9-17 and their parents completed the 10-minute survey.
About Smarty Pants:
Smarty Pants, LLC (www.asksmartypants.com) is a youth and family research consultancy with offices in New York, Boston, San Diego, San Francisco, Myrtle Beach and St. Louis. Headquartered in Johnson City, TN, the company conducts market research with youth and influencers and guides marketers on positioning, communications, product development and trends.
SOURCE Smarty Pants, LLC