(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.