A new poll studying the attitudes of younger American voters toward TikTok finds that Gen Z voters oppose banning TikTok while millennials support a prohibition, even as a majority of all these younger voters express concerns about China misusing the social media app.
Among registered voters aged 18 to 42, the survey found 46% support a ban on TikTok unless it’s sold to U.S. operators, while 38% oppose it.
But the generations are split. Gen Z voters said they oppose a ban by a margin of 53% to 34%, while millennials said they support a ban by 49% to 34% margin.
The poll was conducted by pollster and author John Della Volpe, who studies the attitudes of young Americans, for his firm SocialSphere, Inc. It represents a rare snapshot of how the two younger generations see TikTok during a heated national debate about whether to ban the app.
By a 2-to-1 margin, the poll found that voters 42 and under were concerned by the statement, “TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a company that was founded in China and reported to have close ties to the Chinese Communist Party.”
Gen Z voters said by a 51% to 41% margin that they’re concerned by that statement, while millennials registered a higher level of concern, at 64% to 29%.
“No doubt, Gen Z loves TikTok — it’s a source of entertainment, advice and revenue for influencers,” Della Volpe said. “Banning it without a clear presentation of facts would be jarring; but what this survey shows is that two thirds of young Americans are concerned about Chinese threats to national security — and Gen Z is more pragmatic that many initially thought.”
Support for a ban went up when respondents were told U.S. government is concerned about China using TikTok to collect data and promote propaganda or misinformation.
TikTok is the most popular social media platform among Gen Z voters, the poll found, with 28% saying it is “made for people like me,” with the next highest vote-getter, Instagram, at 23%.
Gen Z voters said they have a 66% favorable view of TikTok versus 31% who found it unfavorable, while millennials were more divided at 46% favorable to 42% unfavorable.
The poll surveyed 1,607 registered voters aged 18-42 on March 22, 2023 online, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points. It defines Gen Z voters as age 18 to 26, and millennial voters as 27 to 42.