Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Young people abandoning Obama?

A recent Harvard poll is getting a lot of buzz. It shows one of the staples of President Barack Obama's election wins - young people - might be abandoning him. That could mean bad news for the Democratic Party in the future.
Among the key findings of The Harvard University Institute of Politics poll, conducted in October and November, were:
- 52 percent of young people 18-24 and 40 percent of young people 25-29 would recall President Obama if they could; 19 percent of those who voted for Obama in 2012 would recall him; 58 percent of young whites, 35 percent of young Hispanics and 21 percent of young blacks would as well.
- Among 18-29 year-olds without insurance only a third said they would enroll in the Affordable Care Act exchanges; 41 percent were split on whether they would.
- 57 percent said they disapproved of Obamacare
-  55 percent said their health care coverage would get better or stay the same under Obamacare; 40 percent said it would get worse.

The poll though had some interesting twists for Democrats and Obama.
- Among millenials, 83 percent said they would still vote for Obama today if they could recast their vote; 91 percent of Mitt Romney millenial supporters said they'd stick with the Republican nominee.
- Sixty-nine percent of the 18-29 year-olds favor people making over $1 million paying at least 30 percent in income taxes over other options including raising the Social Security retirement age.

Congress did not fare well in the poll either.

- A majority (52 percent) of 18- to 29- year olds would choose to recall all members of Congress if it were possible, 45 percent would recall their member of Congress (45 percent would not). That's about the same split as it was for Obama among all millenials (47 percent recall, 46 percent not recall). 
- And though Obama's job approval rating dropped to 41 percent, he still did better than Democrats and Republicans in Congress whose approval ratings dropped to 35 percent and 19 percent respectively among millenials.

“The reasons for the current lack of support among Millennials for the Affordable Care Act are 
many, and few are surprising given the trends that our polling has revealed for the better part of 
the last four years,” said Harvard Institute of Politics Polling Director John Della Volpe. “Young 
Americans hold the president, Congress and the federal government in less esteem almost by the 
day, and the levels of engagement they are having in politics are also on the decline.”

The survey interviewed 2,089 millenials.



Teddy C said...

Before folks get all excited about this article, remember that numbers are not always what they seem.
"52 percent of young people 18-24 ...would recall President Obama if they could..."
That sounds, impressive but how many young people were actually polled? If 15 people were polled, 52% of them are 7.8 folks. So, in light of this article, 7.8 young people would recall President Obama. That no longer sounds so impressive!

John said...

Interestingly enough, the media continues to compare incompatible approval ratings. Presidential approval ratings cannot be validly compared to that of Congress. For the very simple fact that they are elected differently and should necessarily be polled differently.

Only the President is voted on by the entire electorate (through the Electoral College).

For Congress, Senators are elected by the voters of each state and Representatives by the voters of their district. When polled about "Congress", respondents are typically reacting to their perception of the handful of big names that keep showing up on the news, but unless they have a vote in the elections of those Senators and Representatives, that opinion is of little value in the scheme of things.

How many respondents even realized that "Congress" means both the House and the Senate?

Polls should ask about the House and Senate individually, and should ask for the person's opinion of only the Senators of their state, and only the Representative of their district. Their opinion of people they don't have a vote to elect may make for snazzy headlines, but it misrepresents the political reality!

John said...

Teddy C,

So long as it was a statistically valid sample size, the % will tend to translate fairly accurately. I believe that any reporting on polling should include the sample size used, but your example would fall far short of the likely mark in any competent polling effort. It's not like they walk down to the street corner and ask the first 10 people who walk by and extrapolate to the whole nation.

There are definite flaws to the polling process, or perhaps more to the way the results are presented in the media, as I pointed out in my comment at 1:07 PM. But that 52% number probably means what it looks like. The bigger question is of those polled, were they registered voters and did they vote in the last election and do they intend to vote in the future? If the answers to those questions are "No", then the number is academically interesting, but politically worthless. Just as I pointed out about Congressional approval ratings!

Anonymous said...

Nothing that another speech wont win them back over with

Wiley Coyote said...

Polls do not change the fact the President is a narcissist and incompetent at doing his job.

The sad fact is, if he decided to fly off a cliff, he would have the entire New Hypocrisy Party Democrats and those who pulled the D lever in the past two elections follow him right over without reservation.

Bill said...

Wiley - your petty post about the President is an example as to why this dip in his popularity will be temporary. It is clear, the WH has failed in the rollout of the ACA and the polls reflect the damage. But, the problems will be fixed and, as other posters have stated, his ratings will rise.

Your angry rants are reflective of the GOP's inability to offer legitimate solutions to the voting public. Restricting rights on women, restricting voting access, limiting access to healthcare and restricting equal rights for all members of our society...those are surefire ways to attract the younger voter.

Archiguy said...

Bill, well said and absolutely correct. But you neglected to cite the principle reason why young people will continue to abandon and ignore the Republican Party. That being, the rising disparity in income that is increasingly dividing the country into classes representing the very wealthy and everyone else, and which values the corporate elite over the workers who provide them their extravagant lifestyle.

As the President stated today, the total wealth of this country has doubled in the last 30 years with nearly all of that increase going to the very top percentile. Young people see the regressive, trickle-down policies of the GOP as limiting their ability to enter the middle class and advance themselves financially.

A better question would have been, if you want to recall Obama, would you prefer the last plutocrat the GOP nominated for the top job - Mitt Romney? The guy who said nearly half the population of the country, including millions of the working poor, are nothing more than leaches and parasites? I think we all know what THAT answer would have been.

Cornelia said...

Not too up on statistics, huh, Teddy C? Never heard of the test for sample size? Know that 2 plus 3 equals five? Probably not! I rest my case.

Wiley Coyote said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wiley Coyote said...


I'm a registered unaffilated voter and do not subscribe to either party platform.

I can't help you refuse to look at the facts of the matter, which are: the President and his staff are inept and have the lowest private sector experience since Teddy Roosevelt, Obamacare aside from the website is a complete disaster, fraught with lies and changes by supposedly the "most transparent administration" promised that never materialized.

I suggest you and Archie backup 2 feet from Obama or you'll be going over the cliff with him.

Also, your talking points about restrictions are comical, as NO ONE is being restricted from voting, but at least you're dilligent in reading the Chairman's New Hypocrisy Party talking points.

Archiguy said...

Wiley - Besides the usual incoherent and baseless attacks on the President, you also misquoted Bill. He said GOP policies, here in NC at least, restrict voter ACCESS. And he is again correct.

What the Republicans in the Legislature have done is limit the days allowed for early voting, among other things. Poor people, who disproportionately vote Democratic, often have a much more difficult time getting time off from their jobs to go and vote. By limiting the days for early voting, which is also disproportionately used by lower income voters, they effectively limit the number of Democratic votes. The other voter suppression laws enacted by the Legislature have a similar effect - all negatively impacting those demographic groups that typically vote for Democrats. It's despicable, transparent, and against everything this Republic stands for.

But you know this, because it's been explained many times by the ACLU and other organizations objecting to the GOP's actions, including the Attorney General of the United States.

And your "unaffiliated voter" claim is laughable. You've never voted for a Democrat in your life, and you never will. No one who hates them and everything they stand for with such a passion does. It's a point of pride and identification for you, and others who think like you. Own it.

CharlotteObserver said...

I wonder if it was due to the fact so many of these young people are now at home during the day, where they can be reached?

Sadly the employment numbers are looking very sad, and those who have found work are often doing jobs, most likely, far below the level of expertise, and skill sets they have.

Veronica said...

It warms the cockles of my heart to watch millennials abandon the Chosen One they elected after being spoon fed Hope and Change nonsense from the likes of Jon Stewart and Oprah.

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."


par said...

Too bad Obamacare was not rolled out last. We would have a true manager running this country.

annnort said...


The young people are as sick of hearing Obama read from the teleprompter as the rest of us are. We do wonder how much he pays those people to stand behind him and clap.