Youngest voters back Obama; Oldest back Romney
November 3rd, 2011
04:08 PM ET
11 years ago

Youngest voters back Obama; Oldest back Romney

(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.


Filed under: 2012 • Polls • President Obama
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Democrat Party - leftist "progressive" socialist communist losers hellbent on destroying the USA

    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.
    =========================================================================================

    Hmmm..... sure looks like Obama isn't fooling ANYBODY anymore. Except of course all the extremely rabid brain dead libtards that inhabit this blog.

    November 3, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. Ben

    Who else is there? Bachman? Perry? Spaceman Romney? Who wants a loud mouth like Cain for President?
    I'll stick with sanity. Obama 2012.

    November 3, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  3. Joe

    Disapproval of job rating doesn't always translate to voting for the other guy. People might be mad at Obama but they aren't going to vote for a party of crazy people. He will be reelected easily.

    November 3, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. AL in West Palm Beach

    Hey, CNN I'm 29 and I'm putting my money where mouth is...

    That's why I send my monthly contribution to Obama's campaign...it is now part of my budget. Need I say more?

    November 3, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. Debbie

    While I regard PEW as very credible I would say the Occupy protests are a better gauge of the mood and potential votes in 2012 that runs with young, middle aged, and seniors.

    November 3, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    somebody wrote:
    Hmmm..... sure looks like Obama isn't fooling ANYBODY anymore. Except of course all the extremely rabid brain dead libtards that inhabit this blog.
    ---------------
    I see that the numbers have left your completely bamboozled. The approval of House of Reps is under 10%. The GOP candidates are all unemployeed so that they are not actually doing anything besides campaigning to be approved of.

    November 3, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  7. SC

    This 61 year old will vote for President Obama and Vice President Biden.

    November 3, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. RasPutin

    The young support the Dems because they feel that party represents the future. Older people support the GfOxP because they feel it represents a past they yearn for.
    The problem is that the future is bleak, and the past is impossible to return to because the US has effectively sold its industry to Asia.

    November 3, 2011 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. Democrat Party - leftist "progressive" socialist communist losers hellbent on destroying the USA

    Despite the decline, voters under 30 still represent the strongest area of support for President Obama and Democrats.
    ====================================================================================
    Isn't it against the law to prey on the young, vulerable stupid children of our nation? Looks like they are the only ones still remotely believing the swill Obama and the Democrats feed them on a daily basis.

    We can all hardly wait for Nov. 2012 to get here so we can end this 4 year long national nightmare.

    November 3, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. rrr

    DemocratParty guy.... You just continue to spew loose unproven rhetoric. You may enjoy throwing out crap opinions just for effect. But ultimately no substance. Would tend to side with you if your comments were not based on just demeaning the Democratic party. C"mon halfwit show us some empirical evidence that shows some sort of well thought out logic. Idiot

    November 3, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. Name king

    The repugs kill another jobs plan so they can blame Obama for not creating jobs.

    November 3, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  12. Brandy

    I don't know where you get your figures for the poll, but I wont vote for Romney and i am in the older age group

    November 3, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain

    I'd bet serious money that if older voters looked at the historical record of Democratic administrations and their success in bringing down spending and expanding the economy by investing in our country, they would side with President Obama. I think what honestly gets in the way with some of them is that he is Black. I have older relatives that just can't get beyond their prejudice this way. They don't overly dislike Blacks; having a Black man in the White House just rocks their world because it's something they thought could never happen in our country.

    November 3, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. Geezer

    Hey you kids!
    Get off of my lawn.

    November 3, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain

    Democrat Party – leftist "progressive" socialist communist losers hellbent on destroying the USA

    You do realize that your screen name doesn't make sense, right? Socialism and communism and progressive are not synonyms.

    I feel sorry for folks like you who are so freaked out by the reality that all the Republican economic, military and foreign policies are all PROVEN FAILURES and that a Black man occupies the White House – and not only kept our economy from going into a Great Depression, but took out Osama bin Laden while the stock market made a comeback.

    More work to be done and wouldn't it be great if the Republicans stopped putting party before country, but my point remains: The current POTUS just makes your head explode.

    November 3, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  16. vic , nashville ,tn

    Good news for Obama under the new voter ID law in Tennessee many seniors may not vote

    November 3, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    "The approval of House of Reps is under 10%."

    That's because the teatrolls took control of the House and are in lockstep goosestep with the GOP plan to make everyone hate the government so we'll think getting rid of it is a good thing.

    Ain't it grand to have a bunch of hypocrites (GOP) saying they are the "real Americans", the "patriots" who all the while are trying to destroy our country from within?

    November 3, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  18. NVa Native

    The real key for Obama is educating the public, which of course is the opposite of what the GOP wants.
    As more and more people pay attention to the election and reality Obama will do better and better. Especially if the lame stream media starts doing their job of presenting facts and the truth instead of the right-wing rumors and deceptions put out by their political hacks.

    November 3, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  19. NVa Native

    It will be great to see this mutant lizard brain [Democrat Party – leftist "progressive" socialist communist losers hellbent on destroying the USA] get more and more dysfunctional as Obama nears his second term.
    Talk about afraid of your own shadow.
    Who's that behind you?!.....just kidding. hahahahha

    November 3, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  20. westward

    Educate the elderly. And if that doesn't work – don't give them a ride to vote.

    November 3, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  21. HiroAkita

    This article is crap... Romney... are you joking, if Romney wins the GOP then Obama wins the election. We'll have Obama for a very long time.

    Ron Paul 2012

    November 3, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  22. Sasha

    And now you understand exactly why the GOP is sponsoring state legislation that disproportionately disenfranchises the young (along with minorities and any other group that tends to vote Democrat).

    November 3, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  23. Woman In California

    I don't care what these analysis say – we have two new voters in our family and they are voting for our president. The rest oin their 20's and so forth are to and so are the ones older than 50.
    Take that.

    November 3, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  24. Independent Voters

    Vote for Obama/Biden 2012
    Vote to send all republicans to jail 2012

    November 3, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  25. FLIndependent

    Well, hate to say it because I have a parent on social security, but if these older folks are so blind that they don't know Mittens and his merry band of Repubs will end their social security maybe they'll deserve what they get. I don't believe these polls anyway.

    November 3, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
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