Harvard Poll: US Youth Unhappy with Obama's Job Performance
Wednesday, December 4, 2013 10:25 AM
Young Americans are unhappy with virtually every major thing President Barack Obama has done since he was re-elected, and those under 24 would vote to recall him if given the chance today, according to the results of a Harvard University survey released on Wednesday.
The national poll by Harvard's Institute of Politics of more than 2,000 people aged 18 through 29 is intended to provide insight into the political views of the youngest U.S. voters, an increasingly influential demographic known as the "millennial generation."
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More than half the respondents in the survey, taken between Oct. 30 and Nov. 11, said they disapproved of how Obama handled key issues in his second term, including Syria, Iran, the economy, healthcare, and the federal budget deficit.
The poll also shows 52 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 24 say they would vote to recall Obama. Among young people 18-29, the number is 47 percent.
"Millennials, which are the backbone of his support which helped to elect him and re-elect him, now look like the rest of the population when it comes to approval ratings," said Trey Grayson, director of the Harvard Institute of Politics.
Grayson pointed out that there appears to be a split among millennials. Among the findings, 18-24-year-olds indicate they are less supportive of the president and more politically conservative than 25-29-year-olds, a position, he said, that has hardened in recent years and could be a "permanent feature" of this generation.
A plurality of the survey's respondents, 46 percent, said they still would vote for Obama if they could recast their 2012 ballots, compared with 35 percent who said they would vote for Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
Some 55 percent of the survey respondents who reported voting in the 2012 presidential election said they had voted for Obama, compared with 33 percent for Romney.
The results follow a CNN/ORC poll released on Nov. 25 that showed a growing number of Americans doubted Obama's ability to manage the nation, amid ongoing problems plaguing the rollout of Obamacare.
Obama's administration also has come under fire from critics at home and abroad who claim it is dealing poorly with the Syrian government over its alleged use of chemical weapons and with Iran over its nuclear ambitions. They also say the administration has failed to rein in public spending or revive the economy.
Some 57 percent of respondents in the Harvard poll said they disapprove of Obamacare, with 40 percent expecting the quality of healthcare to worsen and about half expecting healthcare costs to rise.
The Harvard survey respondents spread the blame for Washington's shortcomings beyond Obama and the Democratic party. In terms of job performance, 54 percent said they disapproved of the president, 59 percent disapproved of Democrats in Congress, and a whopping 75 percent disapproved of Republicans in Congress.
Conservative Republicans took a hard line in the fight over October's government shutdown, which was waged over the party's demands to stop the launch of Obamacare. But delays in pay to some public workers, closings of national parks, and reductions in public services only deepened Americans' frustration.
Asked which proposals they would prefer to see enacted to cut the federal deficit, respondents tended to favor increasing taxes for the wealthy and cutting certain types of military spending — including on the nuclear arsenal and the size of the Navy fleet.
Seventy-nine percent of millennials said that student debt is a problem for young people in the U.S., with 57 percent saying it's a major problem. Meanwhile, 70 percent said financial circumstances played an important role in their decisions as to whether to pursue a college education.
More than 70 percent also said they would prefer to see no cuts to education spending on kindergarten through high school, the poll showed.
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