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Press Release

For immediate release : 04/28/16

National Survey of Over 100K High School Students on 2016 Presidential Election and Attitudes on Key Issues

This My College Options and Hispanic Heritage Foundation Study Reveals Attitudes and Opinions on Presidential Candidates, Political Parties, Political Media and Top Election Issues

Washington - April 28, 2016 - Today, My College Options® and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) presented the results of a new national survey of 103,354 high school students' (ages 14-18) attitudes on the 2016 presidential election. The youth vote stands to have a large influence in the outcome of the presidential election and understanding students' preferences is crucial to better engage this subset of the electorate at an early stage. The data indicates that high school students are almost equally split on political party identification (Democratic Party 43%, Republican Party 40%), a clear majority would vote for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (30%), and education and the economy are among the top issues they care about (44% and 39% respectively). While youth voter-turnout is usually enigmatic, the findings also reveal that of the 28,141 eligible to vote in November who participated in the study, 17,570 (62%) plan to vote for the first time in the 2016 election.

For full study, click HERE

My College Options is the nation's largest college planning program with nearly 5.5 million students participating, allowing for a substantial study sample that can be representative of the population at large. "With unparalleled access to our nation's youth, we at My College Options believe it is our obligation to amplify their voices on issues that are so critical to our future. Starting as early as the 8th grade, My College Options serves as a catalyst for lifelong learning and through this national youth vote, we seek to have the same effect on students' passions for civic engagement," said Ryan Munce, vice president of My College Options.

The data gathered is even more telling once broken up by race/ethnicity and first-time voters.

"At the Hispanic Heritage Foundation we have tremendous respect for what youth thinks, believes and needs," said Jose Antonio Tijerino, president and CEO of HHF. "The youth vote can make an indelible impact on the 2016 presidential election, Senate and House races and the direction of the country. I look at this survey as providing us all with important guidance on how to better understand and serve our youth. I'm grateful to our friends at My College Options for giving youth a voice during these important elections and beyond."

For full study, click HERE

The top findings indicate:

Overall, 47% believe the country is not heading in a positive direction with 10% believing it is; however, 38% approve of the job President Obama is doing with 26% disapproving

Among all males, 48% identify as Republican and 37% as Democrat, while females were 34% Republican and 48% Democrat

Females would be more than twice as likely to vote for Sanders (33%) than Clinton (15%)

African Americans are more likely to: identify as Democrat (63%) than Republican (20%); vote for Sanders (32%) and Clinton (30%); approve of President Obama (74% vs disapprove at 6%); and believe education is the most important issue (55%) to all of the ethnic/race groups (with Latinos and Asians close at 53% and 52% while Whites were under 40%) and racism/race relations (30%)

Latinos are more likely to: identify as Democrat (60%) than Republican (26%); overwhelmingly vote for Sanders (43%) with Clinton at 16% and Trump at 6%; approve of President Obama (59% vs disapprove at 12%); and are the ethnic/race group who most believes immigration is an important issue (30% with Asian and Whites at 15%, and African Americans at 7%)

Asians are more likely to: identify as Democrat (54%) than Republican (27%); vote for Sanders (41%) with Clinton at 13% and Trump at 10%; approve of President Obama (53% vs disapprove at 15%); and believe environmental issues and healthcare are important issues among all the ethnic/race groups

Whites are more likely to: identify as Republican (52%) than Democrat (33%); vote for Sanders (27%) and Trump (26%); disapprove of President Obama (42% vs approve at 25%); believe the country is heading in the wrong direction (55% vs 9% in positive direction); and believe gun rights (26% vs other ethnic/race groups at approximately 12%) and terrorism (22%) are important issues

Among all first-time voters in November: Bernie Sanders (35%) would be the top vote getter with Donald Trump (19%) second, Clinton third (12%) and Cruz (8%); 15% believe country is going in the right direction and 51% in the wrong direction; 47% would vote Democrat and 44% Republican; the economy and education (45% each) are the most important issues with healthcare (21%) and gun rights (20%) on the next tier of priorities; the income gap is at 6% as is consistent among all segments of the participants

For full study, click HERE

Methodology

The research instrument was designed by My College Options in collaboration with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and was tested through an online preliminary study of 2,800 current high school students for relevancy and contextual accuracy. Once tested and refined, the presidential ballots were mailed to educators across the nation, beginning in February of 2016. These educators were asked to distribute the ballots to their students. The presidential polling research data was collected and the anonymous responses were analyzed in order to produce the interactive report. The resulting study sample represents nearly 1,100 high schools and 103,354 students. The estimated sampling error for this study is plus or minus 0.4% at the 99% confidence level.

My College Options: My College Options® is the nation's largest college planning program, offering free assistance and valuable resources to students, parents, high schools, counselors, and teachers nationwide. The program serves as the primary link between high school students and colleges, universities, and the tools they need to succeed. For more information, visit www.mycollegeoptions.org.

Hispanic Heritage Foundation: The Hispanic Heritage Foundation inspires, prepares, and connects Latino leaders in the classroom, community and workforce to meet America's priorities. HHF also promotes cultural pride, accomplishment and advocacy, as well as the great promise of the community through public awareness campaigns seen by millions. HHF is headquartered in Washington, DC, and Los Angeles. Visit www.HispanicHeritage.org for more information.