By now, everyone should know that many Millenials and their younger age groups do not have the money for a downpayment on a house. Burdened by student debt, stagnant wages, and jobs that don’t pay much, these voters are mostly living in rental properties.
But a new study by Apartment List.com finds that apartment dwellers know that their financial situation is precarious, so they are increasingly going to vote Democratic and especially vote for progressive candidates.
Renters comprise one-third of voting Americans and they are often overlooked as a specific group. The good news is that they vote Progressive Democratic. The bad news is that they have a poor turnout rate on election days.
The reasons are obvious why they would choose a progressive Democrat over a traditional Democrat who let real wages stagnate over the past 30 years and has not offered any real plans to eliminate student debt.
According to reporter Chris Salviati, the reasons why apartment dwellers are favored to vote for a progressive Democratic candidate are the following:
- Historically, voter turnout among renters has been significantly lower than homeowner turnout. That said, a wave of state and local housing measures have demonstrated increased political activity among renters. The degree to which the renter vote can be mobilized nationally could have crucial implications for the 2020 elections.
- Renters, who are more likely to struggle economically, have decidedly more progressive views on the economy than homeowners. For example, among Democratic voters, 70 percent of renters favor increased spending on aid to the poor, compared to 57 percent of homeowners.
- In the 2016 Democratic primaries, 46 percent of renters voted for Bernie Sanders, compared to just 34 percent of homeowners. With Sanders now emerging as the clear frontrunner among 2020 Democratic hopefuls, mobilizing the renter vote could secure him the nomination.
- Although the renter population heavily favors Democrats, 39 percent of renters identify as independents, and their votes have the potential to swing the general election. These independent renters tend to hold progressive views around economic equity that would seem to align them with Democrats.
- If renter turnout had matched homeowner turnout in 2016, Hilary Clinton would have won the general election. The 2020 elections could be decided by whether or not candidates are able to effectively activate this large untapped voting bloc.
In the last election, renters favored Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton.; homeowners were the opposite. Renter are also very Democratic, but they also have a high rate of independents.
So overall, Bernie’s organizers should focus on renters and make sure they get out to vote. If that happens, as the chart below shows, they will get a positive return on their canvassing.