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. Sniffit


    Not for nothin'...but I stopped using "Teatards" and switched to "Teatrolls" for obvious reasons, not least of which was my own karma. You might consider doing the same. Don't worry: You'll still sound outrageously misinformed and like a crazy conservative wingnut extremist who gets his talking points from Faux Noise and Red State and his "facts" from reading tea leaves while on shrooms, but you won't be offending abd abusing an entire segment of the differently abled population. Being obviously differently abled yourself, I would think you could get on board with this.

    November 3, 2011 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  2. NVa Native

    Under the guise of so called "voter fraud" which if you consider the facts is no more a threat that Acorn – at least to the American public.
    But the GOP does understand informed people voting is a threat to them and that is why the GOP creates these lies about Acorn, poor people are evil, black people are different, Latinos are foreigners, OWS are violent protesters, young people are lazy and scary, along with old people are aware, rich people are entitled, and GOP is capable – all of which we all know are lies.

    November 3, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  3. willard

    I'm mocked out of acorn that who people are cheat vote for presdient obama but I was vote him about 2008 so I will be change my mind that I'm strong belive that repbulic are bettern presdient obama cause he was nothing work for 3 year so I think better off him

    November 3, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  4. 2012liberal

    Pres just one person. Country better start pulling there heads out. All politics is local. Thats where state laws are being made and starting 2 surpress voters, women rights, rights of education, small business. Governors, senator and reps. Better change it while u can. Obama 2012

    November 3, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. Patriot Awesome

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

    You do realize that most of his unpopularity is due to him giving in too much to the Republicans don't you?

    November 3, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  6. Woman In California

    Correction: In a hurry.

    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 are in their late 20's (and will to) those of us who are older will also.

    November 3, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
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