Desiree May is feeling the Bern. Ever since the 27-year-old graphic designer saw Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speak at a Madison, Wisconsin, event in July, she's been volunteering for his campaign.
"Just the passion in that room was unbelievable, and Bernie's integrity is really appealing to me and inspiring," May said.
May estimates she spends four hours each weekday knocking on doors canvassing and encouraging people to vote in her hometown of Green Bay, as well as another hour running various Wisconsin-focused Sanders social media accounts. On weekends, her volunteer work takes up the entire day.
"His dedication to his message is really moving," she said. "I want more people to be aware of who he is and what he stands for."
About one-fifth of Americans have attended a political event in the last year, according to a new survey of more than 3,000 adults in the U.S. by Eventbrite and Ipsos. Among those attendees, 45 percent are millennials. The online survey was conducted Feb. 3-6 and had a margin of error of 2.1 percentage points.
Millennials are more than bodies at events: If you can get them to turn up, they show sustained interest.
Millennials as event goers were almost twice as likely to volunteer for campaigns than were Gen Xers, and more than twice as likely versus baby boomers. They were also 33 percent more likely to donate, compared with 20 percent for Gen X and 24 percent for boomers. And, 22 percent were more likely to host their own candidate event, compared with only 10 percent and 2 percent of their respective counterparts.
"In some ways (millennials) aren't focused yet, but they will understand that issues that will be decided in November will affect them a great deal," said Rob Shepardson, co-founder and partner of marketing communications agency SS+K . "There's a bit of (painting) with a broad brush that young people aren't interested. They are quite interested in issues that affect them."