Harvard Poll: Young Voters Say Obama Will Lose

School says poll is an ominous sign for Obama.

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More bad news for President Obama, this time from his alma mater, Harvard University. In a new poll, more younger voters, many of whom voted for him in 2008, think he will lose next year.

"This survey may well serve as an ominous sign for Barack Obama's 2012 chances and the political engagement of America's largest generation," said John Della Volpe, polling director at Harvard's Institute of Politics. [Check out our editorial cartoons on President Obama.]

The details: 36 percent of so-called millennial voters, age 18-29, think Obama will lose; 30 percent say he will win.

But it's not all bad. The same voters like Mitt Romney the best of the GOP candidates, and in a head-to-head vote would choose Obama over Romney 37 percent to 26 percent.

Here is what Harvard just sent Whispers:


Cambridge, MA—A new national poll of America's 18- to 29- year olds by Harvard's Institute of Politics (IOP), located at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, finds more Millennials predict President Barack Obama will lose his bid for re-election (36%) than win (30%). The new survey also shows former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney fairing best among potential Republican challengers in a general election match-up against President Obama, trailing the president by eleven percentage points (Obama: 37%, Romney: 26%).

Thirty-two percent of Millennials say they are following the 'Occupy Wall Street' demonstrations either very (6%) or somewhat closely (26%), with 66% not following the demonstrations closely. Only twenty-one percent (21%) said they supported the movement. A detailed report on the poll's findings is available on the Institute's homepage at www.iop.harvard.edu.

'Our new polling data clearly shows Millennials are growing more concerned over the direction of the country and effectiveness of Washington, D.C. to solve problems,' said Trey Grayson, Director of Harvard's Institute of Politics. 'The opportunity exists for all political parties and campaigns to re-engage this generation—those who do can maximize results in 2012.'

'While we are more than a year away—it's important to note that with enthusiasm about politics and Washington down, nearly three-quarters of Millennials seriously concerned about jobs and the economy—and more believing that the President that they helped elect will lose, rather than win re-election—this survey may well serve as an ominous sign for Barack Obama's 2012 chances and the political engagement of America's largest generation," said John Della Volpe, Polling Director at Harvard's Institute of Politics.

The web-enabled survey of 2,028 18-29 year-old U.S. citizens with a margin of error of +/– 2.2 percentage points (95% confidence level) conducted with research partner Knowledge Networks for the IOP between Nov. 23 and Dec. 3, 2011 finds:

• Plurality of Millennials predict Obama will lose bid for re-election. Among all 18-29 year-olds, more believe that Barack Obama will lose re-election (36%) than win (30%), with almost a third (32%) not sure—the margin is nearly identical among students enrolled in four-year colleges (37%: lose, 31%: win, 31%: not sure). Among survey respondents who voted for Barack Obama in 2008, less than half (48%) believe he will win re-election at this time (19% say Obama will lose, with 33% undecided).

• Mitt Romney leads among young Republican primary and caucus goers. Among young Republican and Independents indicating they are at least somewhat likely (definitely, probably or 50-50) to vote in their state's primary or caucus (n=637), Mitt Romney leads the field with 23 percent, followed by Ron Paul (16%), Herman Cain (15%) and Newt Gingrich (13%). Examination and allocation of Cain supporters' second-choice selections for president shows Romney would continue to lead (25%) among Millennials with Cain out of the race, with Ron Paul (18%) and Newt Gingrich (17%) in a statistical tie for second place (Herman Cain suspended his campaign on