Poll: 36 Percent of Young Adults Say Political Involvement Rarely Has Tangible Results
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By Solange Reyner | Monday, 25 April 2022 06:07 PM
Thirty-six percent of 18-to-29-year-olds say political involvement rarely has tangible results, according to a Harvard University Institute of Politics survey released Monday.
The Spring 2022 Harvard Youth Poll, which surveyed 2,024 18-to-29-year-olds, predicts a large turnout for young voters in the upcoming midterm elections – soaring turnout and big margins among the age group were central to Democratic victories in 2018 and 2020 – but many are expressing disenchantment with President Joe Biden and his policies.
The survey found:
- 36% of young Americans report that they will “definitely” be voting in November, compared with 37% who said the same at this stage in 2018
- 55% prefer Democrats maintain control of Congress, compared to 34% who don’t
- 36% believe that political involvement rarely has tangible results, while 42% think their vote “doesn’t make a difference.”
- Just 41% of young Americans approve of the job Biden is doing, an 18-percentage point drop since Spring 2021; the leading reason cited for disapproval is “ineffectiveness” (36%), followed by “not following through on campaign promises (14%) and “not sharing my values (10%).
- 49% of young Americans believe that things in the nation are off on the wrong track, with just 13% saying they are headed in the right direction
- 59% of young Black Americans, 43% of young Asian Americans and 37% of young Hispanic Americans feel “under attack” “a lot” in America.
- Nearly half of LGBTQ youth feel the same.
- 85% of young Americans favor some form of government action on student loan debt, but just 38% favor total debt cancelation
“In the past two election cycles, America’s youngest voters have proven themselves to be a formidable voting bloc with a deep commitment to civic engagement. Our new poll shows a pragmatic idealism as they consider the state of our democracy and the concerning challenges they face in their lives,” said IOP Director Mark Gearan. "Elected officials from both parties would benefit from listening to young Americans and as we head into the midterm elections.”
Added IOP Polling Director John Della Volpe: "While this is an off-year election; there’s no evidence in this survey that young Americans are off the grid. Their contempt for a system that favors the elite and is overwhelmingly partisan is clear, but at the same time they see a role for government and are unlikely to abandon those most in need. While the composition of the electorate will likely shift, at this point young people seem as, if not more engaged, than they were in recent midterms.”