Getting through to Gen Z Voters

We’re going to win. And I’m not saying it’s going to be easy. But we will win…”  

In a recent interview with 60 minutes, Vice President Kamala Harris guaranteed victory in 2024, despite new lows in Biden and Harris’ approval ratings and polls showing Biden in a virtual tie with Trump. 

It was a good interview and you should watch it if you haven’t already, but we were particularly interested in Harris’ thoughts about young voters and the administration’s challenges telling their story to the voters they need to win. Harris said: 

“If you poll how young people feel about the climate and the warming of our planet, it polls as one of their top concerns. When we talk about what we are doing with student loan debt, polls very high. The challenge that we have as an administration is we got to let people know who brung it to them. That’s our challenge. But it is not that the work we are doing is not very, very popular with a lot of people,” 

Harris is keenly aware that Biden needs young people to get reelected. She understands the issues they care about, but like many campaigns (up and down the ballot), the real challenges are associated with leveraging these policy synergies in a way that can actually motivate target voter segments to action. Policy congruence is just not enough.  

Campaigns need a precision targeting strategy that communicates policy alignment that’s wrapped in the values and motivations of their target audiences. Historically, that’s been a major challenge. It’s becoming less of one, if campaigns know where to look and how to activate… 

 What AI says about turning out Gen Z Voters 

A “youthquake” rocked the country during the 2022 midterms and was ultimately responsible for shifting a number of critical elections in favor of the Democrats, stabilizing the party’s control of the upper chamber. In the months leading up to that election, Resonate AI-backed voter models saw the historic role that young voters, particularly Gen Z voters, could play in pivotal midterm battlegrounds like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. 

 A year out from the general election, we were curious what Resonate AI is saying about registered Gen Z voters online today. Here’s some of what our models are tracking: 

Our voter models track what party voters are likely currently identifying with and not what static voter files from previous cycles say. As you can imagine, these models shift in real-time based on the online behavioral activity associated with any given voter. Right now, our models show that 50% of online Gen Z registered voters identify as Democrats, while 26% identify as Independents, 20% as Republicans and 4% with a Third Party. 

Our data also show that Vice President Harris is right on the money when she says that the top issues young voters care about are student debt and climate change.  

 Our models show these are the very two issues that Gen Z voters are judging the Biden Administration on. Compared to the average registered voter online, Gen Z voters are 85% more likely to believe student debt should be a top Biden priority and 48% more likely to believe climate change should be a top Biden priority. 

Now, Harris is equally as right when she says the administration is falling short when it comes to telling their story to Gen Z about the level of work the White House has put into lowering student loan debt and combating climate change. The proof is in the data… 

Today, our AI-based real-time voter models says that 47% of Gen Z voters are still persuadable on Biden, while almost equal parts support or oppose him. 

Likeability isn’t the only problem Biden has with Gen Z. Perhaps the bigger problem is getting these 22 million online registered voters to vote in the first place. And we’re not even accounting for the other 12 million Gen Z voting aged users online who say they’re either not registered or don’t know if they’re registered or not… 

When just looking at the Gen Z voters online who say they are in fact registered, our models show that only 41% should be considered frequent voters in presidential general election years. 


So where does Biden, or any campaign that has the same problem of capitalizing on a segment they should absolutely win in big numbers (but is not guaranteed) go from here? 

For starters, you need to understand where your target voter segment is consuming media. That’s why at Resonate we have access to in-depth media consumption habit reports on broad-niche online voter audiences. For example, we know that Gen Z voters are about 130% more likely to be politically influenced on social media. We know, not a huge surprise, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg… 


 We also know that they’re much more likely to watch HBO Max (with ads). We know the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th ranked streaming services they’re watching too and whether they’re likely to have ads activated or not. We have hundreds of insights like this. We understand what channels they watch, apps they use, and where they are consuming news.  

But most importantly, campaigns need to understand the values and motivations behind the policy positions. In the case of Gen Z registered voters online, they are psychologically driven by social and professional status, peer recognition, and living an exciting life.  

 The creative and messaging needs to reflect these values. This segment is not as concerned with the current state of the economy, how the pandemic was handled, or what’s happening at the border. They’re an idealistic crowd looking to advance in a world they see as polluted, unjust, and plain old tone deaf. They yearn for an energetic, opportunistic message that addresses where they are at life, the issues they care about. A message actually worthy of their vote. We know how to deliver it and where to send it to. 

The above audiences referenced are just a few of hundreds of online voter audiences that campaigns can build, analyze and immediately activate with Resonate. Let us know what voter segments you absolutely need to win in 2024 and we’ll show you strategies that will leave no doubt.

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