Millennials Uninterested In Midterms, More Enthusiasm Among Conservatives

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A new national poll of Americans ages 18-29, found that so-called “millennials” are largely uninterested in participating in the 2014 midterms and distrustful of public institutions.

The poll, released Tuesday by Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP) at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, found that just 23 percent of voters younger than 30 say they will “definitely be voting” come November, an 11 percentage point drop from five months earlier when 34 percent said they would definitely be voting. In 2010, that number was about 31 percent.

Among those most likely to vote Republican were more enthusiastic — with 44 percent of 2012 Mitt Romney voters saying they would definitely be voting, compared to 35 percent of 2012 Barack Obama voters.

The poll of millennials also found that self-identified conservatives were 10 percentage points more likely to vote than liberals 32 percent to 22 percent, respectively. Men (28 percent) were also more likely to vote than women (19 percent). And whites (27 percent) were more likely to vote than African-Americans (19 percent) and Hispanics (19 percent).

The poll also shows a lack of trust in public institutions, with no institution breaking 50 percent when respondents were asked if they trusted an institution — such as the president, military, Congress, local government, media, Wall Street — to do the right thing.

“It’s been clear for some time now that young people are growing more disillusioned and disconnected from Washington,” Harvard Institute of Politics Polling director John Della Volpe, said in a statement. “There’s an erosion of trust in the individuals and institutions that make government work — and now we see the lowest level of interest in any election we’ve measured since 2000. Young people still care about our country, but we will likely see more volunteerism than voting in 2014.”

The poll of 3,058 18 to 29 year old Americans, conducted between March 22 and April 4, has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.8 percentage points.

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