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PolitiFact.com | Tampa Bay Times

PolitiFact: Kaine has data to show millennials agree more with Clinton than Trump

Young voters carried Barack Obama to victory in the past two elections and felt the Bern for Bernie Sanders during the 2016 Democratic primary. But polls show they're not exactly transferring their enthusiasm to Hillary Clinton.

Clinton's trouble connecting with millennials prompted NBC's Chuck Todd on Meet the Press to ask Clinton's running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, how the campaign could swing states without them. Kaine agreed that voters are crucial but laid out "litmus test" issues that should persuade them.

"Do you believe in climate science or don't you? Millennials do, Hillary Clinton and I do, Donald Trump doesn't. … Do you believe in immigration reform or don't you? We do, millennials do, Donald Trump doesn't. Do you believe in LGBTQ equality? We do, millennials do, Donald Trump doesn't. And finally, do you have a plan to deal with college affordability? We have one. Millennials need one. And Donald Trump, with Trump University, has ripped off students," Kaine said.

Kaine is overstating Trump's opposition to gay rights and college affordability. But millennials — voters 18 to 35 — do agree decisively with Clinton's positions on immigration, gay rights and college affordability, and by narrow margins on climate change. Kaine's statement rates Mostly True.

Climate science

Kaine's assertion on climate change is largely accurate. Recently, a 2014 Gallup survey found that 58 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds believe global warming's effects have already begun.

A national poll conducted in 2015 by Harvard's Institute of Politics found that 55 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds agreed with the scientific consensus that the planet is warming and emissions "from cars and industry facilities" are to blame.

Clinton has called for more pollution controls, investing more in clean energy and cutting "wasteful" tax subsidies for oil and gas companies. Trump's website doesn't include a position on climate change. However, he's said in interviews that he regards climate change as a hoax.

Immigration

Trump has campaigned heavily for the removal of illegal immigrants and the building of a wall across the southern border. Clinton, in contrast, has called for legislation to allow some of those living in the United States illegally to remain, especially young adults brought to the United States as children. Most would be eligible for an eventual path to citizenship.

On the issue of the wall, millennials are firmly against Trump. According to a 2016 PRRI survey, 70 percent oppose it, compared with 52 percent of people age 65 and older.

More recently, a Fox News poll taken in last August found that 87 percent of respondents under 35 favored setting up a system for illegal immigrants to become legal. Only 11 percent supported deporting as many as possible.

LGBT equality

Polls show millennials overwhelmingly support gay rights, which is a plank of Clinton's platform. But Kaine is exaggerating when he suggests Trump is totally against LGBT equality — the Republican nominee has given more nuanced comments on the issue.

According to a May 2016 Pew report, 71 percent of Americans born after 1981 favor same-sex marriage (as do 55 percent of all Americans).

Clinton's LGBT promises mirror millennial attitudes. She calls the Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage in 2015 as a "landmark victory" for the country.

Trump has vowed that he "will do everything in my power to protect LGBT citizens" in his speech at the Republican National Convention. But Trump opposes gay marriage and has said in interviews during the Republican primary that he would appoint judges to reverse the Supreme Court ruling.

College affordability

Trump isn't against making colleges more affordable, but polls show millennial attitudes on higher education costs more closely align with Clinton.

Many millennials say college affordability is a top issue, according to a USA Today survey, and the vast majority say higher education should be debt-free.

Under Clinton's college affordability plan — retooled in June with input from Sanders — families with incomes less than $85,000 will pay no tuition at in-state public colleges and universities, with the income cap increasing to $125,000 by 2021.

Kaine focused on complaints lodged against Trump University. PolitiFact found that Trump University received a D-minus rating from the Better Business Bureau in 2010, the last time the consumer watchdogs gave ratings.

Trump has been vague about his own college affordability plans. In an Iowa town hall in November, he suggested he would create "some governmental program" to help lower-income families pay for school. He promised to "work with all of our students who are drowning in debt" during the Republican National Convention.

This report has been edited for print. Read the full version at politifact.com

The statement

Says Hillary Clinton and millennial voters have the same positions on climate change, immigration reform, gay rights and college affordability. "Donald Trump doesn't."

Tim Kaine on NBC's Meet the Press, Sept. 18

PolitiFact ruling: Mostly True

Kaine exaggerates Trump's positions on gay rights and college affordability, but polling data shows millenials hold the same positions on issues as Clinton. We rate Kaine's statement Mostly True.

PolitiFact: Kaine has data to show millennials agree more with Clinton than Trump 09/18/16 [Last modified: Sunday, September 18, 2016 9:35pm]
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