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National issues that matter to Boston.com voters

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Experts and readers weigh in on the national issues most important to voters as the 2024 presidential election approaches.

Steven Salzman makes his choices Vote for the Super Tuesday primary election at Bridgewater Middle School on March 5, 2024. (Jonathan Wiggs/Globe team)

Even though it is more than six months away, the 2024 presidential election is still present for voters. And contrary to popular belief that young voters are apathetic about civic engagement, most young people plan to vote in November.

More than half of young Americans say they plan to vote in the 2024 presidential election, according to a poll from the Institute of Politics (IOP) at the Harvard Kennedy School.

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Sayles Kasten, executive director of the New Hampshire Youth Movement, a progressive youth-led organization that aims to mobilize voters across the state and promote candidates and policies, said the narrative of apathetic young voters is a mistake . He cited the recent wave of protests on national campuses against Israel’s war in Gaza as an example of their enthusiasm.

“If young people were apathetic, they wouldn’t protest,” he said.

Despite their enthusiasm, young voters won’t be an easy group to win over in November, Kasten said.

“I think it’s fair to say that Biden has work to do to re-energize the young people who gave him his victory in 2020,” he said. “But I think young people are passionate about the issues, and I think they want candidates who will be big and bold and who will destroy rigged systems.”

Indeed, the Harvard poll found that the only area in which former President Trump has an advantage over Biden is enthusiasm. Three-quarters (76%) of Trump voters say they enthusiastically support their candidate, while 44% of Biden voters say the same.

Nathan Shrader, associate professor of politics at New England College and co-director of the school’s Center for Civic Engagement, said the enthusiasm gap between the two candidates does not necessarily indicate a deficit for Biden, or a victory for Trump. but a lack of connection on the part of the former.

“It’s not necessarily that Trump is doing well. It’s Biden who’s not connecting yet,” he said.

How can Biden connect with and energize this young cohort of voters? Meet them where they are – literally.

“He must physically present himself to the places where they are. Younger voters need to see him more, be exposed to him more,” Shrader said.

For the general electorate, economic issues are at the forefront, with affordable housing being a particular concern for young Americans.

“Many young people struggle to find an affordable apartment or accommodation. Housing is certainly a major concern for young people,” he said.

The Harvard poll also found that the economy was the most important issue for young Americans. In response to an open-ended question about the national issue they were most concerned about, the poll found that just over a quarter (27%) said something related to the economy. On a more detailed level, the poll found that inflation, health care, housing and jobs in particular were areas of major economic concern.

Like Kasten and the Harvard poll, Boston.com readers said economic issues were among their top concerns; inflation and housing together gathered a third of the votes. In total, the five most important issues according to readers are: inflation, housing, climate change, women’s reproductive rights and immigration. The majority of our 48 survey respondents said they plan to vote in November.

Will you vote in the 2024 presidential election?

What is the national issue that matters most to you?

Women’s reproductive rights

Below is a sampling of quotes from Boston.com readers on some of the most important national issues heading into the 2024 presidential election.

Answers have been lightly edited for grammar and clarity.

Climate change goes beyond cyclical politics and will cause mass extermination if not addressed immediately.

Christine, Holbrook

“While all of the above questions are important, Climate change affects every person on the planet. It displaces millions of people every year and costs billions in repairs. I know the problem is not as bad as it was, but we still need to put a lot of work into solving the problem.

Aly, Winchendon

“I would like people to frame climate change in economic terms. It is a boon for our economy and a source of new jobs.

John O., Ashland

“I support Joe Biden and I think accommodation is the biggest problem affecting Americans today.

Chris, Boston

“Many of the most important questions for the finances and futures of today’s youth, such as inflation, violence and jobscan be significantly mitigated by addressing housing crisis.”

Andrew, Cambridge

“I’m from San Francisco and I’m tired of seeing so much human suffering and indignity. THE dehumanization of the homeless coupled with so many failed attempts to get people off the streets, it breaks my heart incredibly. I know this country can do better for those who are most vulnerable.

Isabelle, San Francisco

“I am 29 years old, from a red state, and have voted Democratic in every election since 2012. I am an active voter, politically engaged, and write to my representatives often. I will abstain in the 2024 election because I cannot vote for Joe Biden because of the reprehensible way he provided weapons to the genocide of the Palestinian people. I am ashamed that my taxes as an American are paid to finance foreign wars, killing future generations and families. This betrays the value of human life.

David, Fenway

“I was reluctantly going to vote for Biden, but after he gave billions to Israel I can’t justify it. Now I don’t know if I’m going to write or skip.

Layne, Boston

Boston.com occasionally interacts with readers by conducting informal polls and surveys. These results should be interpreted as an unscientific measure of reader opinion.

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