Poll: Young women feel nation heading in wrong direction; many unlikely to do anything about it

Protesters gather at the stage for the Women’s March on Washington during the first full day of Donald Trump’s presidency, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 in Washington. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

This morning’s CBS News poll suggests the political power harnessed by the January 2017 women’s march may have dissipated, at least among younger women.

It shows that women ages 18-35 feel the country is heading in the wrong direction, are most likely to hold negative views of the current administration, and feel the federal government’s policies are anti-women.

None of that is the most interesting part of the survey.

This is: they’re the demographic least likely to say they’re going to vote.

Only 30 percent say they intend to vote in elections this year. Among those currently registered, about half say they’ll show up, but that’s significantly below the number of older women who say they’ll vote (76%).

For two years, we’ve had a steady diet of news stories trying to peer into the mind of the voter for Donald Trump, but almost none checking in with those who took a pass on showing up at the polls on Election Day.

The numbers reflect a historical trend, CBS says.

Younger voters have been less likely than older voters to turn out in past midterms. They comprised just 13 percent of voters in the 2014 midterms and 12 percent in 2010.

Those who are planning to vote are enthusiastic about doing so, and that is particularly true among Democrats.

Among women ages 18-35 who say they may not vote this fall, their top reason is not being interested in politics and elections (31 percent), followed by not feeling like their vote matters (19 percent), not liking the candidates running (14 percent), and being too busy (14 percent).

Almost six in 10 (57 percent) of women ages 18-35 say they are registered vote (lower than the two-thirds of women overall who report being registered). But among young women not currently registered, one in five plan to do so ahead of November’s elections.

For most of the younger women who do vote in 2018 it will be their first time voting in a midterm election, and for a third (35 percent), it will be their first time voting ever. Those already registered to vote are more likely to have voted before, but for four in 10 of them this year would be their first time voting in a Congressional midterm.

The decision not to vote because of the candidates isn’t unique to young women, however. In fact, it was one the one consistent across all demographics in the 2016 election, according to Pew.

Related: Electing More Women Would Change Congress (But Not Make It More Bipartisan) (NPR)