Giant Meteor Meme No Longer A Joking Matter

This election is having a ... wait for it ... deep impact with millennials

Oct 20, 2016 at 1:56 PM ET

Want proof of the true depths of despair many young people feel about American politics? A new University of Massachusetts Lowell poll has you covered. The poll, released just before Wednesday’s debate, found that nearly a quarter of millennials would prefer a giant meteor to strike the Earth “instantly extinguishing all human life” than living to see either of the two main party candidates being elected president. When weighed against Donald Trump alone, celestial death via a giant meteor would be preferred by more than half of all survey respondents.

Almost 1,250 American millennials participated in the poll, putting a more serious spin on the “Giant Meteor 2016” meme that has been making the internet rounds for months. A bumper sticker facetiously endorsing the demise of humanity paired with the slogan “Just end it already” was created by a software engineer earlier this summer.

Given the alternatives to having Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump become the next American president, almost 40 percent of millennials said they’d prefer a lifetime of President Obama, while over a quarter would opt for a randomly-selected American citizen drawn from a lottery to be handed the presidency.

Joshua Dyck, co-director of UMass Lowell’s Center for Public Opinion said that he doesn’t truly believe that the respondents are “earnestly interested in seeing the world end,” a fair point given that millennials are known for their dramatic tendencies and fondness for bleak memes, but the data does seems to indicate a larger overall problem.

While young voters came out in record numbers during some important primaries, Clinton and Trump found scant support within the demographic on the whole. Millennials have been found to be less politically affiliated than other generations, and only one-quarter say that they trust the federal government just about always or most of the time. It’s a cynical attitude mirrored that doesn’t bode well for our political future.

And while those under the age of 18 are legally barred from participating in public polls, the findings of a recent Scholastic ballot seem to indicate that the youngest Americans share those feelings of candidate dissatisfaction. Thirteen percent of the polls’ respondents would prefer a candidate other than Clinton or Trump, including Jill Stein, Bernie Sanders, or Harambe. Meteor or Harambe, though. That’s the real poll.