A new national poll by the University of Massachusetts Lowell finds that nearly a quarter of millennials would prefer to see a meteor strike Earth than either of the major 2016 presidential candidates in the White House.
The Millenials Poll, a joint effort by UMass Lowell and Odyssey, released on Tuesday, was conducted Oct. 10 through 13 and asked Americans ages 18 to 35 about their attitudes and opinions on the upcoming election. Questions covered irreverent options about the candidates as well as serious issues such as race relations, immigration and the legalization of marijuana.
Respondents were asked to choose their preference in the race for president, with Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump 61-22, with Gary Johnson at 9 percent and Jill Stein at 5 percent.
Clinton also fared well up against Trump, a random lottery to choose the president from all American citizens, President Barack Obama appointing himself to a life term or a giant meteor striking Earth and extinguishing all human life. Thirty-three percent of respondents ranked her first, followed by Obama staying in the White House for life at 27 percent. Trump's 16 percent just edged out the meteor and the lottery, which pulled 12 percent each.
But when asked about their preference a different way, the poll found that 39 percent of those surveyed said they preferred Obama serve a life term over either a Clinton or a Trump presidency. Twenty-six percent prefer a random lottery to choose the next president over the two leading candidates winning and 23 percent (nearly 1 in 4) prefer a giant meteor strike to them.
"We do not take our respondents at their word that they are earnestly interested in seeing the world end, but we do take their willingness to rank two constitutional crises and a giant meteor ahead of these two candidates with startling frequency as a sign of displeasure and disaffection with the candidates and the 2016 election," said Prof. Joshua Dyck, co-director of UMass Lowell's Center for Public Opinion, who wrote and analyzed the independent, nonpartisan poll, in a statement.
The poll was based on responses from nearly 1,250 people and has a margin of error of 3.2 percent, which rises to 4.3 percent for likely voters.