Survey of Young Voters, Part I (January 2012)
KEY FINDINGS OF THE GARFIELD INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC LEADERSHIP
SURVEY OF YOUNG VOTERS AGED 18-29
This poll was conducted January 2012. View the latest polling results from June 2012.
Graphs from the survey:
- Among voters 18-29, the Democratic Party leads the Republican Party in favorability 56-45%.
• In terms of intensity of feelings, the Democratic Party’s “strongly
favorable” rating exceeds its “strongly unfavorable” rating 32-21%. On
the other hand, Republican Party “strongly unfavorable” rating exceeds
its “strongly favorable” rating 26-19%.
- Both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street have higher unfavorable ratings (45%, 42%) than favorable ratings (33%, 33%).
• The Tea Party’s “strongly unfavorable” rating is three times larger than
its “strongly favorable” rating (30% vs. 10%). Occupy Wall Street’s
“strongly unfavorable” rating is twice as large as its “strongly favorable”
rating (25% vs. 12%).
- President Obama’s job approval rating among voters under 30 is 50%, which is 4 points higher than his current national average of 46%.
• A 50% approval rating among this age cohort is potentially a serious
problem for the president’s re-election. In 2008, Obama received 66% of
the votes cast by voters under 30. The differential among younger voters
(16 points) is greater than the 7-point differential among the entire
electorate (53% of the vote in 2008 vs. 46% current approval average).
- As with older voters, Obama does better among women than men and among Democrats than Republicans or independents. His 39% rating among independents is a re-election red flag.
- As with older voters, there is a considerable racial divide. While 91% of blacks 18-29approve of Obama’s job performance only 36% of whites 18-29 do.
- Voters surveyed prefer Democrats over Republicans on generational issues such as understanding problems of people under 30 (by 31 points), making education more affordable (by 35 points), creating jobs for young people entering the work force (by 13 points), making Social Security and Medicare available for generation Y (by 31 points), and putting the country above partisan politics (by 15 points).
• Respondents were nearly split on the overall economy (Democrats led
by 1%) and Republicans outdistanced Democrats on the deficit (by 13
- Voters 18-29 are generally optimistic about the country’s future. Democrats, blacks, college graduates, women, 27-29 year olds, and respondents in the Midwest tend to be a little more optimistic than other groups measured.
- The economy is the top issue among survey respondents. The deficit, education and corruption in government follow.
- Strong majorities (70% or greater) believe the government is broken, that there should be less regulation and that both political parties are out of touch.
- A solid majority (56%) think it would be a good thing if there was an independent candidate for president.