Survey of Young Voters, Part II (June 2012)
KEY FINDINGS OF THE GARFIELD INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC LEADERSHIP
SURVEY OF YOUNG VOTERS AGED 18-29
1. President Obama leads Mitt Romney by 13 points among registered voters surveyed (and by 14 points among likely voters). While Obama is doing better among young voters than he is among voters nationally (an average of nationwide surveys now give Obama a 1-2 point lead), his advantage over Romney is much smaller than his Election Day performance in 2008, when he defeated John McCain by 33% among voters under 30.
- These data provide strong evidence that Obama has important work to do to shore up his support among younger voters – this is especially true among white voters under 30, a constituency Obama now loses by 6 points.
2. The Democratic Party is now viewed favorably by 56% of voters under 30, the same as it was in the January survey.
- It should be noted that 50% of independents view the Democratic Party favorably.
3. The Republican Party is now viewed favorably by 42% of young voters; that’s down 3 points since January.
- It should be noted that 33% of independents view the Republican Party favorably.
4. A majority of voters surveyed, 57%, say Obama has met or exceeded their expectations as President while 38% say he’s fallen below expectations.
5. The Democratic Party is clearly seen as the party that best understands the problems of people under 30.
- The Democratic Party is also clearly seen as the party that will make education more affordable; the party that will make sure Social Security and Medicare will be available for Generation Y; and the party that has the best plans to create jobs for young people entering the work force.
- On which party has the best policies to improve the economy, however, Democrats have a narrow 3-point lead over Republicans.
- Republicans are seen as the party that will best protect America’s ability to compete with other countries around the world and as the party that will bring down the federal budget deficit.
6. Voters surveyed are consistently split on who has the ability to strengthen the economy and create jobs:
- Obama and Romney tie, as do the two parties.
- A slightly greater amount of young voters (+4%) say small businesses over large businesses and 6% more say government over private business.
7. Voters under 30 are much more optimistic about nation’s future than pessimistic, although the level of optimism (now 63%) is down a little from January, when it was 68%.
- Democrats are more optimistic (73%) than Republicans (52%) and independents (59%).
8. Respondents were a little less optimistic about the future of the economy than the future of the country in general (58% vs. 63%).
9. 87% of voters under 30 believe a college degree gives people a better chance to make more money––although only 45% said a “much” better chance while 42% said a “little” better chance. Only 11% said it would not give them a better chance.
10. 85% of voters under 30 believe a college degree gives people a better chance of having a meaningful career that uses their best talents ––50% said a “much” better chance while 35% said a “little” better chance.
11. 72% of voters under 30 believe that by the time they retire it is likely that the Social Security system will go broke and won’t be able to pay full retirement benefits––43% said “very” likely while 29% said “fairly” likely.
12. A majority of voters surveyed (57%) oppose universal public service while 36% support it.
- Support is highest among blacks, Democrats and respondents in the South.