Introduction

Every fall and spring, the Harvard Public Opinion Project (HPOP) releases America's largest poll of young people. The poll usually gets a great deal of national coverage. Unfortunately, much of this coverage only goes skin deep, highlighting the supposed apathy of young people in America and our cynicism about the future of politics. This project, a partnership between HPOP and the HPR, aims to provide some additional context and analysis. Indeed, on everything from Internet privacy to college tuition, millennials don't seem to fit any convenient political mold. They're deep thinking, conflicted, and crucial to America's future. Read our articles to find out more. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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HPRgument Posts | December 4, 2013 at 10:03 am

Obama is Fast Losing Key Demographics

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At the intersection of Hispanic voters and millennials, two key demographics from the 2012 election, dissatisfaction with the President’s performance runs deep. Though Hispanic millennials tend to be less displeased with the President than the average millennial, Obama’s popularity among this portion of the electorate has taken a decided nosedive. In the Harvard Public Opinion Project’s Fall 2013 survey, 53 percent of Hispanic millennials surveyed approved of Obama’s job performance, down 12 points from the 71 percent approval rating among Hispanic millennials charted in the Spring 2013 survey.

When asked whom they would vote for if given the chance to recast their vote from the 2012 election, 60 percent stated they would recast their vote in the 2012 election for Obama, with 23 percent stating they would vote for Romney. Though Obama still wins a majority of Hispanic millennials, this represents a 19-point drop when compared to the 74 percent of Hispanic millennials surveyed who actually cast their vote for Obama in 2012.

In their attitudes towards President Obama’s handling of the economy, Hispanic millennials fell between Caucasians and African Americans. While 42 percent approved of the Obama administration’s management of the economy, 48 percent disapproved, compared to the 72 percent of Caucasians and 38 percent of African Americans who echoed this dissatisfaction.

A similar trend arose regarding attitudes towards President Obama’s handling of the federal budget deficit, with African Americans splitting 43 to 47 between approval and disapproval, Caucasians 20 to 76, and Hispanics 38 to 54. Still, Hispanic millennials were generally more approving than the general millennial population, with 61 percent of all surveyed disagreeing with Obama’s handling of the economy and 66 percent disapproving of his management of the federal budget deficit.

On the issue of foreign policy, Hispanic millennials are more likely than not to be critical of Obama’s performance. Fifty-nine percent disapproved of his approach to the situation in Syria and 50 percent voiced a negative opinion of his management of relations with Iran. However, these numbers are slightly lower than average, with 60 percent of all surveyed responding they disapproved with President Obama’s handling of Syria and 56 percent expressing the same feelings about Iran.

Though Hispanic millennials are generally more satisfied with President Obama than the average millennial voter, the dropping popularity of Obama compared to previous years presents a worrying future for the Democrats. Obama won this demographic by more than two to one in 2012; now he barely maintains a positive approval rating from them. Stagnancy on immigration, deadlock in Congress, and a still-weak economy all are potential factors in the President’s dip in approval. And as both Hispanics and millennials comprise increasingly larger portions of the electorate (nearly 1 in every 10 voters was Hispanic in 2012), the impact of these demographics on Presidential and Congressional races grows as well. With the possibility of a Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, or Jeb Bush-led ticket from the Republicans in 2016 presidential race, the Democrats may be hard-pressed to maintain control of the White House if this dissatisfaction continues.

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