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Democrats want the young North Carolina vote, but Gen Z's feelings are complicated

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Democrats are looking to strengthen their base in 2024, and one of the states they're targeting is North Carolina. Trump won the state in 2020 by less than 75,000 votes. For Democrats to win there, they need to maintain support with young voters. But many members of Generation Z who are now eligible to cast ballots next year have mixed feelings about the party and President Biden. NPR's Elena Moore reports.

ELENA MOORE, BYLINE: It's hot and sunny at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro as new student orientation is in full swing. A&T is the largest historically Black university in the country, and many of those students are gearing up to vote for the first time next year.

SOLOMON HAYES-BROWN: I think it would be a nice refresh for us to get someone even in their 50s, you know? Like, even that will be good.

MOORE: That's Solomon Hayes-Brown, a sophomore from Charlotte who's working orientation. He says he'll still vote Democrat next year, but he says young folks are turned off by the older front-runners.

HAYES-BROWN: Biden is 80, and Trump - he's, like, 77, something like that. So they're getting up there. So if we saw a younger candidate, I think that would be beneficial.

MOORE: A&T is no stranger to political drama. The campus was split into two separate congressional districts, giving Republicans a distinct advantage in this part of the state. Courts ruled that unconstitutional, and now the campus sits in one district, filled with young voters and Black voters - two groups that Democrats count on to show up to the polls. That's why the president and first lady visited the school last year. Rising senior and Greensboro native Charity Ewing remembers that.

CHARITY EWING: And it was just really nice to be able to see what their future plans are. So I would love to see him carry that out.

MOORE: Ewing isn't excited about a Trump-Biden rematch, and she's not alone. According to NPR's latest polling, Biden's approval with voters under 30 is just 38%. That's lower than any other age group. Elena Moore, NPR News, Greensboro, N.C. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Elena Moore is a production assistant for the NPR Politics Podcast. She also fills in as a reporter for the NewsDesk. Moore previously worked as a production assistant for Morning Edition. During the 2020 presidential campaign, she worked for the Washington Desk as an editorial assistant, doing both research and reporting. Before coming to NPR, Moore worked at NBC News. She is a graduate of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and is originally and proudly from Brooklyn, N.Y.