Since last year, Biden’s popularity has been trending down among 18- to 29-year-olds, with the highest concerns related to the economy.
An opinion poll by the Harvard University Institute of Politics published on April 25 shows that only 41% of young people in the United States approve of President Joe Biden’s performance.
The data reveal growing disapproval of the Democratic leader among people aged 18 to 29: in the second half of last year, 46% of this group approved of Biden’s work, against 59% in the first half.
For comparison purposes, a survey by the same institute showed that 25% of young Americans approved of former President Donald Trump in 2018, after two years in office. However, 12 years ago, Democrat Barack Obama had 56% approval halfway through his second term.
Of the 19- to 29-year-olds who supported Biden in the 2020 election, 69% still approve of his performance in the White House. Young people approve of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic (52%) and his attitude toward the war in Ukraine, albeit to a lesser extent (46%).
Biden’s handling of the economy is approved of by only 34% of young people, and issues related to it, such as inflation and the cost of living, are the biggest concern for 29% of young Americans. Another 18% mention foreign policy or national security, and 8% mention environmental issues. COVID-19 is the main concern for only 4% of respondents.
The survey interviewed 2,024 18- to 29-year-old Americans and was conducted from March 15 to March 30. The margin of error for the total sample is 2.89 percentage points, positive or negative.
“(T)hey see the current political system as ineffectual; they view the President as putting the interests of the elite over their own; they consume less political information; are more likely to be on Twitter; have less hope about the future; are more liberal; and more passionate about (canceling) student debt for everyone,” writes John Della Volpe, director of polling at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics, in a statement.
In March, more than 700,000 of the 43 million students who took out government loans had their debts forgiven, totaling more than $17 billion paid off. According to an announcement by Biden last week, 3.6 million people in the same situation will benefit from reduced monthly payments based on their income and family size.
Young Americans’ disenchantment with politics is not limited to opinions about Biden. Only 40% approve of the Democrats’ performance in Congress, a 52% drop compared to March 2021. (Meanwhile, 31% praise the performance of Republicans in Congress, a minor change in comparison to the 28% rate of last March.)
Compared to former President Trump’s half-term, young people are more pessimistic about the effectiveness of the political system. A majority of 56%, an increase against the 45% registered in 2018, agree that “politics today are no longer able to meet the challenges our country is facing.” Perhaps this is why only 36% of people under 30 say they plan to vote in the legislative elections later this year.
According to the research, “large proportions of minority groups in the United States — representing race, religion, politics, and sexuality — feel under attack in America. 45% of LGBTQ-identifying youth feel like people with their sexual orientation are under attack ‘a lot.’” Three-fifths (59%) of young “Black Americans believe people of their racial background are under ‘a lot’ of attack in America, 43% of AAPI youth, 37% of Hispanics, and 19% of whites feel the same.”
Only among the young Hispanics did the proportion who felt under “a lot” of attack for their race has decreased, from 46% to 37%. Meanwhile, nearly half of young Republicans (46%) believe that people who hold their political views are under attack “a lot” in America, compared to 24% of Democrats who feel the same way.