2 out of 3 Gen Z voters in Arizona say they will vote in November, ASU survey finds

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Young voters waiting in line to cast ballots. iStock photo by SDI Productions.


Two out of three Gen Z registered voters in Arizona say they plan to vote in this year’s general election, while four in five say the two major political parties don’t represent them, according to results of a new Arizona State University survey.

ASU’s Center for an Independent and Sustainable Democracy interviewed 1,315 Arizona registered voters ages 20 to 30 in May. The center posted results in a new report titled “Frustrated but Engaged: Gen Z Attitudes on Voting, Parties and Issues in 2024.”

The survey is supported by a grant from the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission. It has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2.7%.

Sixty-six percent of Gen ZGenerally defined by people born in the mid-to-late 1990s through the early 2010s. voters surveyed said they plan to cast ballots in November, the survey found. Of those, a like number of Democrats and Republicans, 78% each, say they plan to vote, as do 53% of independents, according to center Co-Director and Professor Thom Reilly of the ASU School of Public Affairs, part of the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions.

But a commanding majority of respondents — four out of five — say the two major parties aren’t compatible with people their age or the country’s best interests.

“They overwhelmingly say the two parties are not working for them,” said Reilly, who said the survey found 80% of respondents disagree with the statement: “The current political system works for my generation, and both Republican and Democratic politicians want what’s best for the country.”

Forty-nine percent of respondents — more than those who say they affiliate with the two parties combined — say they are registered independents. About one-third identify as Latino

The 30-page report’s title, “Frustrated but Engaged,” reflects a dual attitude among 30-and-younger voters, Reilly said.

“Arizona Gen Z voters are ready to step in to take over as the boomers fade away, but they are profoundly frustrated with the political world that has been handed down to them,” he said. “They are not ready to give up on democracy, but they want to participate on their own terms.”

Several ballot initiatives that will go to Arizona voters this November could draw younger voters to the polls, said Jackie Salit, center co-director and a School of Public Affairs professor of practice.

“Particularly striking was the finding that independent Gen Z voters who did not vote in 2022 were more likely than their Democrat and Republican counterparts to say that ballot initiatives on abortion rights, open primaries and funding for public education would motivate them to vote,” Salit said.

The survey’s overall findings indicate that a potential uptick in Gen Z voter turnout this year would come from independents, she said.

Young voters identify top issues

Ninety percent of respondents say the cost of living is a serious concern to them, followed by affordable housing (86%) and protecting the water supply (81%). Health care is next with 79%, followed by fair and secure elections (78%), jobs (76%) and reproductive rights (74%), according to the report.

Farther down the list are gasoline prices (56%) and reducing student debt (49%). Only 25% consider a proposed U.S. ban on TikTok to be a major concern, Reilly said.

Independents and Democrats were aligned on affordable housing, health care, reproductive rights and climate change in the survey, while independents’ support is similar to that of Republicans regarding fair and secure elections, taxes, gas prices and gun rights, the report said.

Water availability is a regional issue, with strong concerns among young voters in Arizona that might not be reflected in views of voters of similar ages in other states, Reilly said.

Gen Z registered voters ages 20–30 make up 19% of the Arizona voting-age population. Reilly said, and 18% of all registered voters. However, only about 10% of the total ballots cast in the 2022 general election came from this age group.

Among likely Arizona ballot measures in the November election, 93% of Democrats and 70% of independents surveyed say establishing a fundamental right to abortion before fetal viability through a state constitutional amendment would “more likely” impact their decision to vote.

Clean Elections Executive Director Tom Collins said the center's research findings are crucial to comprehend the increasing influence of younger voters and how to reach them.

“Understanding how Gen Z voters see our electoral system is particularly important for outreach to build and sustain democratic principles,” Collins said.

The Arizona Citizens Clean Election Commission is a nonpartisan, voter-centered state agency that fosters greater citizen participation via the election process and voter education.

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