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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”

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This week’s final contribution concerns the ongoing decline in the fortunes of pro-abortion President Joe Biden. One might consider the somewhat desperate attempt to salvage support for President Biden among young people in the first story, and the much less optimistic second story.

The first item is from the Los Angeles Times. The headline of the article is “Young Voters May Be Disenchanted with Biden, but They Still Oppose Trump, Poll Finds,” written by David Lauter. The subheading reads, “In contrast to some other surveys, the Harvard Youth Poll indicates that President Biden continues to hold a robust lead over Donald Trump among young Americans.”

The second article is from MassLive. The headline of the article is “Harvard Poll: Youth Vote Enthusiasm Tumbles Headed into 2024; Biden Leads Trump,” and it is written by John L. Micek.

Lauter’s narrative commences on an auspicious note for President Biden. In contrast to other surveys, the Harvard poll indicates that Biden continues to hold a substantial advantage over Trump among young Americans.

Among those who are likely to vote, Biden was in the lead with 57% of the vote, while Trump received 33%. This is comparable to the 61% to 35% margin by which Biden won the votes of 18- to 29-year-olds in 2020, according to the Pew Research Center’s study of that year’s voting patterns, which is generally regarded as the most accurate source.

This is undoubtedly cause for optimism. This is followed immediately by a negative indicator 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.

This is an intriguing phenomenon. In contrast, Lauter does not provide any specific information about women, except to mention that they were influenced by the Dobbs decision. Micek, however, states that women voters, who also participated in large numbers in the 2020 and 2022 midterm elections, were motivated by Republican attacks on reproductive rights. They also indicated a reduced inclination to vote in 2024, with 47% of respondents indicating that they were definitely planning to vote, compared to 56% in 2019.

We will resume this discussion on Monday. I extend to you all a most pleasant weekend.


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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