Millennials deliver new lows for Obama and Congress
December 15th, 2011
12:51 PM ET
2 years ago

Millennials deliver new lows for Obama and Congress

(CNN) – Members of the Millennial generation are increasingly skeptical President Barack Obama will win reelection, according to a survey that showed historically low approval ratings for the president and Congress.

Obama received his lowest approval rating of 46% among the young demographic in the Harvard Institute of Politics poll released Thursday. Thirty-six percent of 18 to 29 year olds predicted he will lose reelection, compared to the 30% who said he will win. Among those who supported Obama in 2008, 48% said he will win in 2012 while 19% said he will lose. Thirty-three percent remained undecided.

A "millennial" is an American born between 1980 and 1995.

Although the president received a moderate lead over a generic Republican candidate, he fared better when pitted against named GOP contenders. Obama bested a generic Republican by six percentage points, 35% to 29%, compared to an 11-point disparity over GOP contender Mitt Romney, 37% to 26%, and 16 percentage points when matched with Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 39% to 23%.

Young Republican and independent voters gave Romney the lead in the Republican field with 23% support, followed by Rep. Ron Paul of Texas at 16%, Herman Cain, who later suspended his race, with 15%, and former House speaker Gingrich with 13%.

The approval ratings slid for Obama, and also fell for Democrats and Republicans in Congress. Obama dipped from 55% in February to 46%, most significantly among college students from 60% in February to 48% today and among Hispanics from 68% to 48%. His approval among young blacks was consistent.

Views toward Democrats in Congress fell from 45% to 33% while views of Republicans in Congress also slid significantly from 30% to 24% during the same period.

The demographic, who turned out in unprecedented rates during the 2008 election, said the United States is headed in the wrong direction by a four-to-one margin, a more negative view than was seen in the February poll results. Twelve percent of young adults said the country is "headed in the right direction" compared to 52% who said it is "off on the wrong track."

Instead of showing their frustration through supporting the eventual Republican presidential nominee in 2012, the poll suggested Millennials are more likely to not support the president or other Democrats on the ballot by not engaging, volunteering or voting by the same margins they did in 2008.

However, John Della Volpe, the director of IOP polling, said the results are a snapshot, and not necessarily a sign young people "don't love their country." Volpe added that the percentage of young college voters who volunteer in their communities has remained between 57% and 64% over the last decade.

"They want to help their country, they just don't think that engaging in the current political system is the most effective way to do that," Volpe said on a conference call with reporters Thursday. "They are still working every day in this country."

The poll, conducted in conjunction with Knowledge Network, surveyed 2,028 young Americans between Nov. 23 and Dec. 3 with a sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.


Filed under: 2012 • Congress • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Gurgi

    @Taylor.....Wow! Just....Wow!! Talk about a perfect example of the tunnelvision of liberals.

    December 15, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    ""They want to help their country, they just don't think that engaging in the current political system is the most effective way to do that"

    GOP: Mission Accomplished. "Gov't is broken. See? We broke it!!!!"

    "Every working American got tax breaks under the Bush Tax Cuts. "

    And the ones received by the exrtemely wealthy were disproportionate and inequitable, making up the lion's share of the cuts. The charts displaying the data and math are undeniable and all over the intertubez.

    December 15, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    """They want to help their country, they just don't think that engaging in the current political system is the most effective way to do that""

    Indirect GOP voter supression: break the system so badly that nobody has any faith in it and gives up, failing to show up at the polls.

    December 15, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "There is something distinctly unAmerican about class warfare"

    Then why have the GOP and their rich and corporate benefactors been waging one for the past several decades?

    December 15, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. vic , nashville ,tn

    Obama will win handily, Republicans add the pipe line bill to payroll tax cut extension that was a cheap shot. Look like republicans out of ideas to fight the president

    December 15, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Actually, they see the reality of the GOBP deathcult's obstruction and utter disregard for job creation in America.
    ========================================================================================
    But the Democrats spent nearly a trillion dollars and had two years to create jobs. End result: no jobs.

    Republicans have controlled only the House, for less than one year. Obama and Harry Reid in the Democrat dead on arrival Senate haven't done anything all year. They should return their salary for 2011. Total no-shows.

    December 15, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  7. Sandy

    Not sure who they polled, but just about everyone I know will support the President.

    December 15, 2011 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "He pushed the social issues down regular americans throat knowing that the polling says most americans are social conservatives. "

    The majority of Americans supported repeal of DADT. The majority of Americans support the majority of the provisions in the health care reform bill when presented those provisions separately and without the "cue" of them being related to the ACA, which would trigger knee-jerk reactions from many...and, in fact, is proven to do so (i.e., people say they don't support those provisions just because they're in teh ACA, not because they don't support those provisions). Polls also show the majority fo Americans support same-sex marriage and taxes being increased on the 1%. These facts are all in well documented polls and study reports all over the intertubez. So tell us, where are you getting your "data" or are you just making things up so you can sleep at night?

    December 15, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. Killdeer

    I'm Independand. Having said that, I am so fed up with the Republicans holding the middle class hostage to big buisness, Grover Norquist, etc. that I will simply not vote for anyone with an (R) after their name on the ballot.

    December 15, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  10. Jennifer

    I am one of this group, and I HOPE that CHANGE does come and that Obama is out of office. I am disgusted with the lackluster of this man and do not trust him. I am a raised independent leaning Republican, typically voting for the lesser of two evils. This man wants to change the Constitution and his party has tried to do so on several occasions. We need some fiscal responsibility, not more bailouts and more money being given out to those that are not working because they figure welfare is better than employment.

    I want a president that will close the pursestrings and FORCE us to LIVE WITHIN OUR MEANS!!!!! We can do it!!!

    December 15, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. Bill

    Obama wins in 2012, Dems. take house (this is the easy one), but hold on Senate a bot more tenuous.

    December 15, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    >RUDYNYC – ***promote the general Welfare***

    Are you saying this clip from the Constitution means the government's job is to guarantee and/or provide "fairness" to everything that transpires in our country? Or are you saying its the government's job to provide welfare for everybody to make everybody equal?

    Considering the Constitution was written to limit federal powers and preserve state power and individual liberty, I think you are severly distorting this phrase and its meaning.

    December 15, 2011 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "Look at Solyndra. $535 million down the drain."

    Look at the data that shows that's the one failure in terms of the gov't helping get green energy really moving...increased sales and production of solar panels, etc., is all over the...oh wait...that's right...the MSM is avoiding reporting on all that positive data coming out about it because it hampers the ability to sensationalize the Solyndra controversy.

    December 15, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. Gurgi

    Truth and Nothing But the Truth
    But the Democrats spent nearly a trillion dollars and had two years to create jobs. End result: no jobs.
    Republicans have controlled only the House, for less than one year. Obama and Harry Reid in the Democrat dead on arrival Senate haven't done anything all year. They should return their salary for 2011. Total no-shows.
    ---------------------------------------------
    Perfect example of there being one standard for the liberals and a different standard for everyone else. Reid and the senat dems have been obstructionist party-of-no folks since republicans took control of congress, but do the liberals call it that way? Of course not, they are to hypocritical.

    December 15, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. Independent Voters

    Who cares what the polls say I bet you president Obama win 2012 election.
    I remember they said Obama will lose against McCain 2008.
    Obama/Biden 2012

    December 15, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  16. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Truth . . . – The three million jobs created by the stimulus and the two million auto related jobs that were saved these last three years don't count? We were losing jobs under the republican moron from Texas at the rate of 750,000 a month, for a total of 8 million jobs lost in Bush's last three years, and all he gave us was TARP and an unncessary war.

    December 15, 2011 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    >"Every working American got tax breaks under the Bush Tax Cuts. "
    >
    >And the ones received by the exrtemely wealthy were disproportionate and inequitable, making up the lion's share of the >cuts. The charts displaying the data and math are undeniable and all over the intertubez.

    People that paid less got less, people that paid more got more. Everything was in proportion and equitable, but it just did not meet your idea of wealth redistribution. I guess you want "the rich" to keep paying their taxes so you can decide who to give it to on the other end. People that have paid nothing into the system. I guess in your world "fairness" is something that "the rich" do not qualify for or deserve because they are "evil rich" poeple exploiting the poor and down trodden. I fear you have watch Scrooge one time too many.

    December 15, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
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