Low Midterm Turnout Likely, Conservatives More Enthusiastic, Harvard Youth Poll Finds

A new national poll of America’s 18- to 29- year-olds by Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP), located at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, finds low expected participation for the midterm elections as less than one-in-four (23%) young Americans say they will “definitely be voting” in November, a sharp drop of 11 percentage points from five months ago (34%). Among the most likely voters, the poll also finds traditional Republican constituencies showing more enthusiasm than Democratic ones for participating in the upcoming midterms, with 44 percent of 2012 Mitt Romney voters saying they will definitely be voting – a statistically significant difference compared to the 35 percent of 2012 Barack Obama voters saying the same.

The IOP’s newest poll results – its 25th major release since 2000 – also show notable differences in opinions on legalization of marijuana by political party, race and age.  The poll also findsPresident Obama’s job approval rating has improved (47%) from a historic low noted five months ago (41%: Nov. 2013).

“The Institute’s spring poll shows 18- to 29- year-olds’ trust in public institutions at a five-year low – and their cynicism toward the political process has never been higher,” said Harvard Institute of Politics Director Trey Grayson.  “To inspire the next generation to public service – and to improve our communities – our elected officials need to move past the bitter partisanship and work together to ensure progress and restore trust in government.”

“It’s been clear for some time now that young people are growing more disillusioned and disconnected from Washington,” said Harvard Institute of Politics Polling Director John Della Volpe.  “There’s an erosion of trust in the individuals and institutions that make government work — and now we see the lowest level of interest in any election we’ve measured since 2000.  Young people still care about our country, but we will likely see more volunteerism than voting in 2014.”

Maybe disillusionment of liberal Millenials will be Obama’s greatest legacy. He over-promised and under-delivered.

Harvard Millennials Poll Bar Chart Likelihood Voting