Harvard Poll: Young Voters Say Obama Will Lose

School says poll is an ominous sign for Obama.

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Dec. 3, the final day of the interviewing period for the IOP's fall poll).

• Approximately one-third of younger voters following 'Occupy' movement; less than one-in-four supportive. Thirty-two percent of 18-29 year-olds say they followed the 'Occupy Wall Street' demonstrations either very (6%) or somewhat closely (26%), with 66% saying they were not following the demonstrations closely. Twenty-one percent (21%) of Millennials say they supported the 'Occupy' movement with one-third (33%) not supportive and 46% either unsure or refused to answer.

• Job approval ratings continue to slide for President Obama as well as Democrats and Republicans in Congress. President Obama's job performance rating among America's 18-29 year-olds is currently at the lowest point since IOP polling of the Obama administration began in the fall of 2009. Forty-six percent (46%) of Millennials approve of the job Obama is doing as president—a decrease of nine percentage points from Feb. 2011 IOP polling (55%)—with 51% saying they disapprove. Obama's job approval has also fallen among college students from 60% in February to 48% today. Views toward Democrats (33% approval; down from 45% in February) and Republicans in Congress (24% approval; down from 30% in February) have also slipped significantly over the same period.

• In 2012 preview, Barack Obama holds moderate lead over 'generic' Republican, but ahead of potential Republican challengers by double digits. With the general election under one year away, Barack Obama leads a proposed match-up against 'the Republican Party's candidate for president' by six percentage points (35%-29%), a smaller margin than found in February IOP polling (twelve percentage points; Obama: 38%-Republican: 26%). On college campuses, the match-up is a statistical dead-heat (Obama: 37%-Republican: 34%). When Obama is matched against specific candidates, he leads Mitt Romney by eleven percentage points (37%-26%) and Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry (39%-23%) by sixteen percentage points.

• By a margin of more than 4-1, Millennials believe U.S. is headed in wrong direction. Only twelve percent (12%) of young Americans believe things are 'headed in the right direction' with fifty-two percent (52%) saying things are 'off on the wrong track,' a more pessimistic view than identified in February 2011 IOP polling (20 percent: 'right direction,' 39 percent: 'wrong track'). Importantly, less than one-third (32%) of 18-29 year-olds approve of the way that President Obama is handling the economy, a ten percentage point drop since February IOP polling (42%).

Harvard students designed the poll in consultation with IOP Polling Director John Della Volpe, whose firm SocialSphere, Inc. commissioned Knowledge Networks to conduct the survey. Complete results, are available—along with past surveys—online at www.iop.harvard.edu.

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