The Corner

New Harvard Poll on Millennials Provides Mixed Message

Harvard’s Institute of Politics released a new national poll of 18–29-year olds in America today. According to their data, “Obama now leads Romney by a 17 point margin, a gain of six percentage points over the eleven-point lead the President held in November.” Race was one of the key dividers in support for Obama over Romney:

Obama leads among Blacks by 78 points (79 percent – 1 percent), Hispanics by 38 points (50 percent – 12 percent), yet he trails Whites by 3 (37 percent – 34 percent) – a group he won by 10 in 2008.

The job-approval numbers further mirror this breakdown:

The increase in the President’s standing is driven in large part by an increase among important elements of his political base, most notably Democrats whose approval increased seven percentage points (from 74 percent in December to 81 percent currently) and Hispanics whose approval increased 12 percentage points (from 54 percent to 66 percent).

The President continues to struggle with 18-to29-year old Whites (41 percent approval) — who according to 2008 exit polls were the largest cohort of the 18-to-29-year old segment, and supported Obama over McCain by ten points, 54 percent to 44 percent.

Millennials continue to rank the economy as their primary concern, but they also expressed support for both liberal and conservative policies — “reducing the federal deficit,” “ensuring affordable access to health care,” and “lowering the tax burden for all Americans” were in a virtual tie at around 60 percent.

Interestingly, there also appears to be a lack of enthusiasm among Millennials in this election. In 2008, the Harvard IOP Survey found that 76 percent of Millennials said they were planning to vote (63 percent definitely, 13 percent probably) in the upcoming presidential election. This number translated into 51 percent of Millennials actually voting in the election. In 2012, only 64 percent of Millennials are planning to vote, and only 49 percent are definitely planning on it. It is simple to extrapolate from this data that less than 51 percent of Millennials will vote in 2012. Therefore, these results should be comforting to Mitt Romney — he is performing better than John McCain, who lost Millennials two to one in 2008, and the Millennial vote could be less influential in this election.

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