Harvard University Poll of US Millennial Voters

The Harvard University Institute of Politics (IOP) has released its latest poll of Millennials. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.6% and polled American 2029 voters between the ages of 18-29 years old.

One of the key findings is that both the Democrats and Republicans have work to do to better understand and relate to this important and very large demographic.

“The IOP’s fall polling shows that young Americans care deeply about their country and are politically up-for-grabs,” said Harvard Institute of Politics Director Maggie Williams.  “Millennials could be a critical swing vote. Candidates for office: ignore millennial voters at your peril.”

“While Democrats have lost ground among members of America’s largest generation, millennial views of Republicans in Congress are even less positive,” said Harvard Institute of Politics Polling Director John Della Volpe.  “Both parties should re-introduce themselves to young voters, empower them and seek their participation in the upcoming 2016 campaign and beyond.”

The key findings based on the polling data according to the IOP are.

In Contrast to Four Years Ago, Slightly More Than Half of “Likely” Young Voters Prefer a Republican-controlled Congress.
While more 18- to 29- year-olds (50%-43%) surveyed in the IOP’s fall 2014 poll would prefer that Congress be controlled by Democrats instead of Republicans, the numbers improve dramatically for the GOP when only young people who say they will “definitely vote” are studied. Among these likely voters, the IOP’s latest poll shows the preference shifting, with slightly more than half (51%) preferring a Republican-run Congress and 47 percent wanting Democrats to be in charge – a significant change from the IOP’s last midterm election poll in the fall of 2010 when Democratic control was preferred among likely voters 55 percent to 43 percent.

President Obama’s Job Approval Rating Decreases, Nears Low-Water mark.
Overall, President Obama’s job performance among America’s 18-29 year-olds has fallen from 47% (April 2014) to 43 percent (53%: disapprove), the second-lowest rating in the IOP polls since he took office (41%: November 2013). Among 18-29 year-olds saying they will “definitely be voting in November,” the president’s job approval rating is 42 percent, with 56% saying they disapprove.

Deep Political Divisions Harden Along Racial Lines. The IOP’s fall poll finds young whites disapprove of President Obama’s job performance by more than a two-to-one margin (31% approve, 65% disapprove) while African-Americans continue to show a strong loyalty to the president, giving him a 78 percent approval rating (17% disapprove). This approval gap (47 percentage points) among Whites and African-Americans is significantly wider than the 36 percentage point gap in Obama’s approval rating between African-American and whites found in fall 2009 IOP polling.

Millennial Interest in Midterm Voting Similar to 2010 Levels; Conservatives Seem More Enthusiastic. Roughly one-in-four (26%) young Americans under the age of 30 say that they will “definitely be voting” in the fall, a very similar proportion to that seen during a similar time period prior to the 2010 midterm elections (27%: Sept. 2010). Further, compared to the last midterm election of 2010, traditional Republican constituencies seem to be showing more enthusiasm than Democratic ones for participating in the upcoming midterm elections and are statistically more likely to say they will “definitely be voting.

Hispanic Support for President Obama is Weakening. Support for the president among young Hispanics, who just two years ago supported Obama over Mitt Romney by 51-points (74% to 23%), appears to be weakening. The president’s job approval rating among Hispanics now sits at the lowest since the IOP began tracking the administration in 2009.

[Note]: Only the first part of some of the categories are cited here as some sections are long.

It will be interesting to see how accurate these results are in reference to next weeks election and how presidential candidates for the 2016 try to reach out to Millennials.

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