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Poll suggests voting among young people will be down “sending up warning flares in what’s already shaping up to be a tightly contested race for the White House in 2024”

by | Dec 8, 2023

By Dave Andrusko

Our last post of the week is another look at the declining fortunes of pro-abortion President Joe Biden. Check out the desperate attempt to salvage Biden’s support among young people in story Number One with the much less optimistic story Number Two.

Number One is from the Los Angeles Times. The headline is “Young voters may be disenchanted with Biden, but they still oppose Trump, poll finds,” written by David Lauter. The subhead is “In contrast to some other surveys, the Harvard Youth Poll shows President Biden continuing to hold a solid lead over Donald Trump among young Americans.”

Number Two is from MassLive. Its headline reads, “Harvard Poll: Youth vote enthusiasm tumbles headed into 2024; Biden leads Trump” and it is written by John L. Micek.

Lauter’s story begins on a high note for President Biden. “In contrast to some other surveys, the Harvard poll shows Biden continuing to hold a solid lead over Trump among young Americans.

“Among likely voters, Biden led 57%-33%. That’s very similar to the 61%-35% by which Biden won 18-29-year-old voters in 2020, according to the Pew Research Center’s study of voting that year, which is generally the most accurate source.”

That is surely reason for optimism. That is followed immediately by this downer for President Biden:

But support for the two candidates shifts in contrasting ways as the voter universe gets bigger: Among all registered voters, Biden’s lead drops to 48%-33%, the poll found. Among all 18-29-year-olds, including those who aren’t registered, the margin shrinks to 41%-30%. That’s contrary to a deeply ingrained belief among many Democrats that higher turnout always benefits their party

And this is immediately followed by this:

Trump isn’t Biden’s only concern. The poll found a large share of young voters leaning toward Kennedy.

Asked about a potential five-way race involving Biden, Trump, Kennedy, Cornel West and Sen. Joe Manchin, who hasn’t decided on running, the poll found 15% of likely 18-29-year-old voters backing one of the independents and another 15% who said they didn’t know what they’d do.

Kennedy, who is mounting a well-funded campaign, likely will be on the ballot in several battleground states. The poll shows him getting support from 1 in 10 young voters, mostly at Biden’s expense.

Third-party candidates typically fade during a campaign, and Kennedy’s penchant for conspiracy theories and fringe beliefs may turn off many people as they learn more about him. For now, however, the poll indicates that he poses a significant risk to Biden among young voters.

By contrast, Micek begins thusly:

Political enthusiasm among younger voters, who played a key role in President Joe Biden’s 2020 win, has tumbled in a new poll, sending up warning flares in what’s already shaping up to be a tightly contested race for the White House in 2024.

Just 49% of voters aged 18-29 say they “definitely” plan on voting for president next year, according to the new canvass by the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School. That’s compared to the 57% who said the same thing in 2019, pollsters found.

Under the subhead ‘A closer look at the numbers,’ Micek writes

The enthusiasm decline was the steepest among young Black voters, with 38% saying they planned to vote in 2024, compared to 50% in 2019, the poll showed.

Enthusiasm also dipped among Hispanic voters, 40% in the new poll compared to 56% in 2019. Enthusiasm among young white voters also dropped by 5%, from 62% to 57%, pollsters found.

And this is interesting. Whereas Lauter does not write specifically about women other than to say they were motivated by the Dobbs decision, Micek writes, “Women voters, who also turned out in force in 2020 and the 2022 midterms, motivated by Republican attacks on reproductive rights, also said they were less inclined to vote in 2024, with 47% saying they definitely planned to vote, compared to 56% in 2019.”

We’ll pick this up on Monday. Have a great weekend.

Categories: Joe Biden
Tags: Joe Biden