New findings out of Harvard University suggest that Millennial voters are transitioning back to being valuable swing voters, after a decade-long hiatus during which they predominantly favored Democrat leadership.
The poll, conducted by the Harvard University Institute of Politics, reveals that a majority of Millennials (aged 18-29) who said they were definitely going to vote in the midterm elections favor a Congress controlled by Republican leaders. (Conversely, more Millennials in general – including those who did not plan to vote – identify as Democrat-favoring.)
Not surprisingly, Barack Obama's approval rating among Millennials has taken significant nose-dives over the course of his two terms, even since this past April. At that time, 47% of Millennials approved of his job performance. Today, only 43% approve, with a 53% disapproval rating among 18- to 29-year-olds, and an even higher disapproval rating among those who plan to vote:
Among 18-29 year-olds saying they will “definitely be voting in November,” the president’s job approval rating is 42 percent, with 56% saying they disapprove.
This statistic suggests that dissatisfaction with Obama's performance might be driving young people to the polls in search of change. And the Harvard study isn't the first this year to find that “Democrats have a Millennials problem.”
Millennials are strongly Pro-Life, and have not seen these values respected or acknowledged by the current Administration. While polls – often worded in such a way as to glean a pro-choice result where that does not reflect an individual's true values – reflect slightly higher pro-choice identification among voters (including Millennials), activism speaks another story:
For pro-life students, the appeal goes beyond a political agenda, encompassing the innate, humane concern for justice and equality… The dominance of the pro-life movement among students on campuses nationwide is clearly quantifiable. Students for Life of America currently works with 838 active student pro-life groups across the country. At the time of publication, the nation’s two most notable pro-choice activist groups combined report fewer than half the number of active groups as Students for Life.
In the New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg preempted the import of the Harvard results prior to this month's midterm election, saying: Memo to Democrats: Your days of winning the youth vote may be over. Starting next week.
And now that we can look at the midterms retrospectively, there may have been something to Stolberg's premonition. In West Virginia, for example, 18-year-old college student Saira Blair handily beat out her trial lawyer opponent, claiming a seat in the state's House of Delegates. Blair is a conservative who leans far right on divisive issues like abortion, gun rights, and taxes. But her constituents craved the fresh perspective and conservative convictions of the young woman.
Although Harvard faculty who interpreted the poll's data projected extremely low voter turnout among Millennials as a result of the group's all-time low disillusionment with the Administration, that was not ultimately the case. Voter turnout among Milennials hovered around 23%, which is consistent with previous years. This number may suggest that Millennials who are dissatisfied with government leadership still view their votes as a key component in effecting positive change.
Pro-Life organizations have widely chronicled the success that conservative Republican candidates saw in the midterm elections, and have noted especially that their Pro-Life convictions seem to have worked in their favor. While many Millennials tend to have more liberal views where economic progress is concerned (raising the minimum wage is among Millennials' chief concerns, for example), the convergence of the overwhelmingly Pro-Life American Millennials opens up the question of whether we will begin to see more blurred party lines with the passage of time, as even Millennials who otherwise identify as Democrats remain firmly Pro-Life. This would stand in contrast with their preceding generations, who have typically identified as Republican or Democrat across both the socioeconomic and ideological planes.