12.06.2013 0

Are millennials really dumping Obama?

Harvard_Survey_Report_2013By Robert Romano

When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Such may be the case with a recent study by the Harvard University Institute for Politics receiving much attention that found 54 percent of those aged 18 to 29 disapprove of Barack Obama’s job performance of president.

It found further that about 57 percent disapprove of his signature legislation, Obamacare, with 50 percent worried health care will get more expensive and 42 percent believing the quality of care will get worse.

61 percent disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy.

So, are young people breaking to the political right?

A short answer might be, not yet.

Only 2 percent of those asked said they would switch their votes to Mitt Romney in 2012 if they had the chance. 9 percent said they wished they had voted for someone else.

A full 75 percent say they disapprove of Republicans in Congress, versus a 59 percent disapproval rating for Democrats.

So, while younger voters’ attitudes may be shifting slightly against Obama, that is not necessarily pointing to a conservative or Republican surge per se. They may be disappointed with Obama, but they like Republicans even less.

Nonetheless, the results may yet present a golden opportunity for candidates with a freedom-oriented agenda to begin making in-roads with the younger generation.

For example, a major reason for disillusionment of Obama, besides the sloppy rollout of the health care law, actually might be the NSA domestic spying scandal. 55 percent said they were opposed to any collection of phone, email, and other domestic electronic records for national security purposes.

When the question was rephrased to state the data was being collected “from you,” the number jumps to 61 percent.

There are other issues that millennials appear concerned about, for instance, 57 percent believe student loan debt is a major problem, which considering the job market (or lack thereof) for young people, is not really surprising.

On the issue of student debt itself, there is a case to be made that the program’s very existence, creating artificial demand on such a wide scale has contributed significantly to the spiraling cost of college tuition.

66 percent disapprove of Obama’s handling of the budget deficit, indicating the younger generation is in fact concerned over the mounting national debt, now $17.2 trillion, falling on their shoulders.

52 percent oppose raising the retirement age for Social Security, implying younger people believe they are already getting ripped off by the program and may not wish to continue paying into the system.

58 percent support reducing food stamp funding to 2008 levels and not growing the program by more than the rate of inflation, indicating a general dislike for excessive welfare.

A whopping 71 percent would cut foreign economic aid in half. With the Federal Reserve printing trillions of dollars, much of it to bail out banks overseas, or the International Monetary Fund using billions of U.S. funding to prop up profligate governments in Europe, there’s clearly an issue there that could be seized upon.

Although just a small window into attitudes of so-called millennials, the Harvard poll could give prospective candidates on the right some reason to craft an agenda based on more freedom, less corporate and personal welfare, protecting privacy, and more personal responsibility.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government. 

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