The thrill is gone for young voters and President Barack Obama, as skepticism of his comprehensive health care law hits his popularity even among one of his most loyal constituencies, according to a new poll.
A survey released Wednesday by Harvard University's Institute of Politics shows 56 percent of 18- to 29-year-old voters disapprove of Obama's signature domestic policy, the Affordable Care Act, while just 39 percent of the so-called Millennials approve. This sentiment mirrors similar recent polls of American adults.
The law requires every American to enroll in a health insurance plan, effective in April, and its success hinges on getting enough young, healthy enrollees into the system to lower the overall cost of insurance. Many of these young enrollees currently have no health insurance.
But apprehension over the law, which has been plagued with website technical issues as well as misinformation, threatens to undermine the willingness of young people to sign up, according to the poll.
Of the 22 percent of those surveyed who do not currently have health insurance, just 29 percent said they would enroll via the health insurance marketplaces known as exchanges, rather than face a federal tax penalty. Willingness to sign up has a partisan split, with less than 10 percent of Republicans, less than 20 percent of independents, and about 37 percent of Democrats saying they would enroll.
The poll also showed the president's favorability at an all-time low of 41 percent among the young voting bloc.
"A critical factor in the election and re-election of Barack Obama, America's 18- to 29- year-olds, now rate the president's job performance closer to that of Congress and at the lowest level since he took office in 2009," said Harvard Institute of Politics Director Trey Grayson in a memo accompanying the poll results.
But 'Millennials' aren't just frustrated with Obama. Similar to voters of other ages, they are equally displeased with all federal officials.
"Young Americans hold the president, Congress and the federal government in less esteem almost by the day, and the levels of engagement they are having in politics are also on the decline," said John Della Volpe, polling director of the Harvard Institute of Politics, in the memo.
The poll surveyed 2,089 18- to 29- year-olds nationally between Oct. 30-Nov. 11 with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.