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Young Voters on Trump: Celeb Status Won't Win Us Over


September 15, 2015 - BOSTON, MA

Despite his lead in the Republican polls and ubiquitous media presence, businessman and TV reality star Donald Trump is unlikely to make it to his party's national convention, or so says a survey of more than 1300 U.S. college students, run by college marketing and insights firm Fluent (www.fluentgrp.com)(1). Not only do 80% of all respondents believe Mr. Trump's campaign will end by this spring, but of those who plan to vote Republican, 65%, believe that as well. And while students enjoy his "tell it like it is style," most find him "bombastic" and "extremist" and are concerned about his "lack of political experience." These majority opinions hold among those planning to vote Republican, with more than half (56%) of that subset also disagreeing with his stands on issues.

"College Millennial consumers love celebrities, but brands -- and this extends to political candidates -- must deliver relevant substance on shared ideals to ultimately earn their support," said Michael Carey, EVP of Fluent, an agency that specializes in "translating" brands for the college world. "Any brand that attempts to build on star power alone, or that believes it and not the audience is in the driver's seat in terms of engagement, is making a serious misstep."

In the Fluent poll, Trump is statistically tied with political outsider Dr. Ben Carson within the Republican slate of candidates, with former Governor Jeb Bush placing a distant third. The leading candidate across the entire survey was 74-year-old Senator Bernie Sanders, who topped both Republicans and Democrats, and who also enjoyed large margins over both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden.

"What's particularly interesting here is this group is responding to candidates two generations older than themselves, who are seen as having fresh and serious perspectives," notes Carey.

Asked to select anyone whose name might be recognized to be President, the students' Top Ten were: Senator Sanders first with 17% of the vote, President Barack Obama second and Secretary Clinton third, followed closely by rapper/producer Kanye West. In continued descending order the remaining were: former President Bill Clinton, comedian Jon Stewart, Vice President Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Dr. Carson, and media mogul Oprah Winfrey. Mr. Trump ranked eleventh. With the significant interest in the vast slate of Republicans, this audience selected the following as their Top Ten: Trump and Carson, Bush, Rubio, Paul, Kasich, Christie and Cruz (tied), Fiorina and Walker.

(1) The survey of 1300+ U.S. college students was conducted between the dates of September 8 -11, 2015 by Fluent. The respondents self-identified as largely upperclassmen (57%) and non-traditional students (37%, similar to a national rate of 40% who are at least 25 years of age), and 68.5% female.

ABOUT FLUENT
Specializing in "translating brands for the college world," Fluent works with clients who want to understand and engage College Millennial Consumers (CMCs) nationwide, both on- and off-campus. With a network encompassing more than 1,000 colleges and universities, Fluent's capabilities include campus activities and programs, College Millennial Consumer insights, digital and social media strategy and activations, and experiential programs. Clients have included major brands such as Kellogg's, Microsoft, Macy's, Keurig, Jack in the Box, Skype, Zipcar, Kotex, Dove and L'Oreal. For more information, visit: www.fluentgrp.com.

Contact:
Sue Parente
781-642-7788
sparente@tieronepr.com
@sueparente

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