(CNN) - The 'millennial generation' overwhelmingly supported the Senator Barack Obama in 2008, but surveys and analysis from the Pew Research Center find support from younger Americans eroding.
Despite the decline, voters under 30 still represent the strongest area of support for President Obama and Democrats. Currently 50% of 18-30-year olds say they lean toward Democrats, versus 58% in 2008.
In a potential matchup with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Obama handily wins among under-30 voters by a margin of 26 percentage points. Older voters tend toward Romney. The oldest range of voters, from 66-83, favors Romney by 10 points.
In terms of approval of Obama's job performance, no age demographic – including people under 30 – rates the president above 50%. The Pew survey finds 49% of people under 30 saying they approve of the job the president is doing, compared to 44% for people ages 31-46, 40% for the 'boomer' generation (ages 47-65), and 40% for 66-83 year-olds.
Declining approval ratings among younger voters is paired with another troubling downturn for Democrats: youth engagement in the ongoing political process. In 2008, 28% of people under 30 said they had given a lot of thought to the presidential candidates. In 2011, that number has dropped to 13%.
Similarly, 17% of 18-30-year olds say they are following news of the election closely, compared to 24% in 2008.
The discrepancy in those figures may be explained partly by the lack of a Democratic presidential primary in 2011, compared to a hotly-contested race in 2008. Since younger voters still lean toward Democrats, the 2012 Republican race may be of less interest.
The Pew Research poll also mapped voter anger among the different age demographics, finding that as voters grew older they became angrier. Thirteen percent of under-30 voters said they were 'angry' with the government, compared to 18% of 31-46 year olds, 26% of 47-64 year olds, and 30% of 66-83 year olds.
The Pew study combined two polls to determine the age gap in political preferences. Both were conducted by telephone of adult Americans. The first, conducted Sept. 22-Oct. 4, was among 2,410 adults and had a sampling error was plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. The second was taken Sept. 1-Sept. 15 from 2,013 adults, and had a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.