Despite Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton's negative views on free trade, polls have consistently shown that millennials support it.
A May 2016 YouGov poll finds 48 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds believe free trade is a good thing, while only 12 percent say free trade is bad. A recent poll by Third Way finds that 70 percent of millennials support free trade over regulation to limit trade.
Pew Research from March also found millennials support free trade more than older generations. Sixty-seven percent of those 18-29 said free trade benefits the country, while 53 percent of of those 30-49 and just 40 percent of voters 50 and older said the United States benefits from free trade policies.
Millennial support for free trade stems from their experience living in a global economy, which is much different than the experiences of older generations.
Millennials are on track to becoming the most educated generation yet, leading them to pursue careers in science, technology, and other industries that benefit from free trade. Far fewer millennials hold manufacturing jobs than previous generations. Manufacturing jobs made up a quarter of American jobs in 1970 but comprised only 8 percent of the job market in 2014. Competition from cheap imports is responsible for much of the decline in American manufacturing.
"The effects of trade have been felt most severely in manufacturing, and frankly, there haven't been many young workers hired or fired in manufacturing in the last 10 or 15 years," Robert E. Scott, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, told Mic. "So in one sense, they've been protected, but in another, they've suffered, because they haven't had these manufacturing jobs available to them."
Additionally, members of the millennial generation are more likely to support free trade than their elders because they are more likely to have traveled worldwide and gained a sense of global citizenship.
The State Department reported that the number of college students studying abroad was at an all-time high last year, and in 2013 the Boston Consulting Group found that millennials were 23 percent more likely to want to travel abroad than previous generations.
"Millennials today have more access to the outside world than past generations," said Matt McDermott, a senior analyst at Whitman Insight Strategies. "The most prevalent is social media, which brings the ability to have connections and relationships outside of Everytown, America."