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Poll: Support For Obama Among Young Americans Eroding

President Obama speaks at a town hall meeting at Binghamton University in Vestal, N.Y., in August.
Mike Groll
President Obama speaks at a town hall meeting at Binghamton University in Vestal, N.Y., in August.

After voting for him in large numbers in 2008 and 2012, young Americans are souring on President Obama.

According to a new Harvard University Institute of Politics poll, just 41 percent of millennials — adults ages 18-29 — approve of Obama's job performance, his lowest-ever standing among the group and an 11-point drop from April.

Obama's signature health care law is also unpopular among millennials. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed said they disapprove of Obamacare, compared with 38 percent who said they approve.

A majority of respondents also said they disapprove of the way Obama is handling the economy, Syria, Iran and the budget deficit.

The results reflect a similar downward trend among the public at large. Recent polls ranging from Gallup to CNN show Obama's approval rating hovering around 40 percent, while disapproval of the health care law is in the mid-to-high 50s.

"Millennials are starting to look a lot more like their older brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents," IOP polling director John Della Volpe said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday.

The online survey of 2,089 adults was conducted from Oct. 30 to Nov. 11, just weeks after the federal government shutdown ended and the problems surrounding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act began to take center stage. The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.

Fifty-five percent of the survey's respondents said they voted for Obama in the last presidential election, while 33 percent said they voted for Republican Mitt Romney. If the election were held again, Obama would still come out on top, but by a tighter 46 to 35 percent vote; 13 percent said they would vote for someone else.

According to the Pew Research Center, 66 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds voted for Obama in 2008, and 60 percent voted for his re-election in 2012.

Harvard's poll found millennials, like the rest of the public, aren't happy with Congress either. Just 19 percent of respondents said they approve of congressional Republicans, while 35 percent approve of their Democratic counterparts. Both figures are single-digit drops from April. Forty-five percent also said they would "recall and replace" their member of Congress if they had the option.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Adam Wollner

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