President Joe Biden’s approval rating remains under water among young Americans, according to the fall 2022 Harvard Institute of Politics Youth Poll, released on Thursday.
The survey found that 39 percent of younng Americans view Biden favorably — down from 41 percent last spring.
The Harvard Public Opinion Project, a student group within the IOP, polled more than 2,000 Americans between 18 and 29 years old from Sept. 29 to Oct. 14. HPOP, founded in 2000, conducts youth surveys twice per year.
While low, Biden’s youth rating among young Americans exceeds that of President Donald J. Trump during his second year in office. At this point in Trump’s term in 2018, the IOP Youth Poll recorded his approval rating at 26 percent.
Tommy Barone ’25, a member of HPOP, said during a press conference the approval trends may be linked to “the information bubble that many young Americans increasingly occupy.”
“Among respondents who followed the news very closely, Biden received 48 percent approval, which is a shocking 20 points higher than those who do not follow the news,” said Barone, a Crimson Editorial editor.
Despite the drop in Biden’s approval since March, the poll found that a majority of young Americans approve of three major Democratic accomplishments over the summer — the Inflation Reduction Act, the bipartisan gun safety law, and a student debt forgiveness plan rolled out in August.
“Levels of support for the Democrats amongst young voters were already incredibly high,” said HPOP member Kate Gundersen ’23. “A five-point bump in support for the Democrats since the spring indicates that young voters are ready to reward Democrats for their work over the summer and endorse them to continue the fight for the issues that they care about.”
The students who conducted the poll outlined five main takeaways, spanning a range of issues related to the 2022 midterm elections.
Youth turnout is projected to be high in November, with 40 percent of surveyed young Americans indicating they will “definitely” vote — levels similar to turnout in the 2018 midterms.
“It was galvanized by the overturning of Roe v. Wade, concerns about the erosion of rights, and again the specter of President Trump’s movement,” HPOP chair Alan F. Zhang ’24 said during the press conference. “Young people are poised to match the trends and turnout records we set four years ago.”
The poll also found that the number of young voters who favor a Democrat-controlled Congress is more than double the number opposed to it, with 57 percent responding in favor and 31 percent opposed.
When it came to rights, young Americans are more concerned about the rights of others than their own, the survey found. While 72 percent of young Americans “believe that the rights of others are under attack,” only 59 percent said they feel “their own rights are under attack.”
Respondents who identify as LGBTQ+ were most likely to feel under attack, with 72 percent reporting concerns about their individual rights.
“Young Americans who feel their rights are under attack are more likely to vote than those who don’t feel that their rights are under attack,” HPOP member Ethan L. Jasny ’25 said at the press conference.
A plurality of young Republicans, 39 percent, cited inflation as the most important issue behind how they will vote in November. Young Democrats pointed to abortion, protecting democracy, climate change, and inflation as the determinants of their vote next month.
“Our findings this fall indicate that young people continue to be galvanized to vote and engage at historic levels,” Zhang said. “But this engagement is also compounded by deep concerns about threats to American democracy and attacks upon their own rights.”
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