Obama Bouncing Back, Says Harvard Poll

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 President Barack Obama has widened the gap between likely general election opponent Mitt Romney and himself.

Obama now leads Romney by a seventeen point margin, a gain of six percentage points over the eleven-point lead the President held in late November IOP polling.

Released today, April 24, the IOP’s newest poll results – its 21st major release since 2000 – also show a plurality of Millennials now predict the President will win re-election in November (43%: win; 27%: lose),  a reversal from four months ago when a greater proportion of 18- to 29-year-olds believed he would lose than win (36%: lose; 30%: win).

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“Over the last several months, we have seen more of the Millennial vote begin to solidify around President Obama and Democrats in Congress,” said Harvard Institute of Politics director Trey Grayson.  “At the same time, there has been effectively no change in their support for Mitt Romney and Republicans in Congress.  We will continue to track this demographic which we know is critical to success at the polls.”

By multiple measurements, according to the survey, the economy remains the top issue of concern for this generation.   As has been the case in past IOP surveys, more Millennials cited “jobs and the economy” (58%) in an open-ended question on which national issue concerns them most – far outpacing any other answer.

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Overall, 38% of America’s 18- to 29-year olds trust the United Nations to do the right thing all or most of the time – a greater proportion than those saying the same about the federal government (27%), Congress (23%) or Wall Street (13%).

Although President Obama’s job approval rating on many key issues remains below fifty percent, the perception of Obama’s handling of economic issues has shown improvement since last fall.

After receiving job approval ratings of less than one-in-three (32%) on the economy and the federal budget deficit (30%), Obama’s approval increased to forty-one percent (41%) and thirty-six percent (36%) respectively over the past four months.

In contrast, Obama’s performance on other key issues appears to be stabilizing as his approval ratings handling Afghanistan (50%: Apr. 2012; 51%: Nov. 2011), Iran (48%: Apr. 2012; 46%: Nov. 2011) and healthcare (45%: Apr. 2012; 43%: Nov. 2011) changed only marginally.

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Harvard students designed the poll in consultation with IOP Polling director John Della Volpe, whose firm SocialSphere, Inc. commissioned Knowledge Networks to conduct the survey.  Complete results, are available – along with past surveys – online at www.iop.harvard.edu.

Knowledge Networks conducted a study of young adults on political issues on behalf of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. The goal of the project was to collect 3,000 completed interviews with young Americans between 18 and 29 years old.

The main sample data collection took place from March 23 to April 9, 2012.  A small pretest was conducted prior to the main survey to examine the accuracy of the data and the length of the interview.

Photo courtesy: White House / www.whitehouse.gov

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One thought on “Obama Bouncing Back, Says Harvard Poll

  • May 2, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    Unfortunately, the age group mentioned in the article hasn’t the education, knowledge of history, or an good awareness of how the government actually works or the UN’s involvement in world affairs to understand really what’s at stake here. The results of this poll reflects this fact. To them, Obama is seen as “cool” or “stylin” – like one young man told me at a rock&roll club recently, “He’s Got Game”! Obama is an expert at marketing himself and making himself appear cool to under-educated people – especially those in this age group who are generally lacking in knowledge and experience. They are more focused on American Idol, ball games, entertainment and partying than what is going on in their nation’s capitol. But they are of voting age. What’s wrong with this picture?

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