Young Americans have turned on Joe Biden.
That’s the shocking finding of a Gallup analysis of its polling over the breadth of Biden’s term released this week.
In the early days of Biden’s presidency (from January 2021 to June 2021), an average of 6 in 10 adult members of Generation Z – those born between 1997 and 2004 – approved of the job Biden was doing. During the period spanning September 2021 to March 2022, that number had plummeted to an average of just 39%.
Among millennials – those born between 1981 and 1996 – the collapse is similarly stark. Biden’s approval rating among that group stood at 60% in aggregated Gallup numbers in the first half of 2021, compared with 41% more recently.
That loss in confidence among young people was, interestingly, not as steep among older age groups. Over that same period, Biden’s approval ratings among baby boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964 – dipped by only 7 points. Among “traditionalists” – those born before 1946 – his approval rating was unchanged.
Now, some of the discrepancy is because younger Americans were far more positive about Biden at the start of his presidency than older Americans. So there was just more room to fall.
At the same time, it’s clear in other surveys that there has been a significant lessening of enthusiasm for Biden among younger Americans. A Quinnipiac poll released this week showed that just 21% of those aged 18 to 34 said they approved of the way the President was handling his job, while 58% disapproved.
By comparison, 36% of Americans aged 35 to 49 and 35% of Americans aged 50 to 64 approved of Biden’s job performance. Among Americans 65 and over, 48% said the same.
What explains Biden’s precipitous drop-off among young Americans? It’s hard to pinpoint any one reason, but there’s no question the delta between what young people expected out of the Biden presidency – particularly when it came to dealing with Covid-19 – and what they got is substantial.
As Gallup’s Jeffrey Jones noted:
“By the summer [of 2021], as coronavirus cases unexpectedly rose, Biden had lost significant support among Generation Z, millennials and Generation X, ranging from seven- to 10-percentage-point drops.”
Regardless of the reason, the fade in youth support for Biden is a major problem for Democrats. Especially when you consider that he won 60% of the youth vote – those aged 18 to 34 – in the 2020 presidential election, according to exit polls. It was, by far, his best performance among any age cohort.
The Point: There are a lot of reasons for Democrats to be concerned about the midterm elections. This finding is right at the top of that list.