Biden Went To The Mat For Young Voters On Student Loans. Now They’re Abandoning Him

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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President Joe Biden has made student loan forgiveness a top priority after young voters elected him by large margins in 2020. Ahead of another matchup with former President Donald Trump, the voting bloc might just abandon him, anyway.

Despite Biden’s continued efforts to cancel massive amounts of student loans for millions of Americans, along with various other left-wing policy achievements, polling indicates his lead among young voters has dropped significantly since last cycle. The loss in support is partially attributable to Biden’s support of Israel following the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack, as young individuals largely express support for Palestinians in Gaza, several Democratic pollsters and strategists told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“He’s doing all the right things that you would think that young voters would flock to, but unfortunately, they haven’t been able to put that message out there in the community,” Adolph Mongo, a Democratic strategist based in Michigan, told the DCNF. “Well, you’ve done eight things, but this ninth thing is unforgiven. And you put your arm around this war monger in Israel, and then, you know, you can’t unwrap yourself from him.”

Biden has already forgiven billions of dollars worth of student loans for more than 3.6 million Americans, according to the White House. (RELATED: Biden Barely Edging Out Trump Among Key Democratic Voting Bloc: POLL)

The Supreme Court struck down Biden’s program to grant student loan forgiveness to roughly 40 million Americans using executive power in June 2023. Since then, the president has explored several other avenues to achieve his policy goal, and announced on Feb. 21 that his administration would be cancelling $1.2 billion of student debt for thousands of individuals.

Still, polling indicates Biden is on track to have much less support from youth voters in November that backed him by large margins in 2020.

Trump was one-point ahead of Biden with registered voters under 45 in an NPR/PBS/Marist survey published on Wednesday. An Emerson College poll of registered voters released on Thursday found Biden leading Trump among those aged 18 to 29 by only ten points.

Last cycle, Biden beat Trump among 18-to-29-year-olds by 24 points, as well as by six points with those aged 30 to 44, according to Edison Research.

A Democratic pollster and redistricting consultant focused on working class racial minorities, who was granted anonymity to speak freely about the threat Biden faces in 2024, told the DCNF that he’s most concerned about wealthy college students and young voters flocking from the president.

“Really all of Biden’s term, but these last seven [to] eight months, watching how Biden went to war with his own party, went to war with his own donor class, Biden, who went to war with Republicans, fought at the Supreme Court and lost, and still used bureaucratic trickery to cancel a tremendous amount of student debt for a tremendous amount of people. Right? Massive, massive policy giveaway to a group of people really struggling,” said the pollster. “Watching all these people threaten to abstain over disagreements with Gaza and Israel support has really forced me to question a lot of what I thought about the politics of delivery.”

A New York Times survey released in mid-December found Trump leading Biden by six points among registered voters aged 18 to 29 — a group that overwhelmingly disapproved of Biden’s handling of the war in Gaza at 72%. The voting bloc was also far more critical of Israel’s actions in Gaza than older voters were.

“These people can actually tank an election, and they have no problems with it because their lives will not be affected,” the Democratic pollster added.

Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster for Biden’s 2020 campaign, is concerned that young individuals will either not vote or will support a third-party candidate rather than them casting a ballot for Trump.

“I think abortion will help bring back some of the younger women, in particular; I think the threat to democracy will help bring back some of the younger men; I think being more aware of what’s being done on student loans and on renewable energy and clean energy will help,” Lake told the DCNF. “But I don’t think we’re going to have the kind of support among young people that we had in 2020, and so that means we got to make up that vote someplace else.”

A coalition of left-wing groups that seek to turn out young voters penned a letter to Biden warning of such electoral repercussions due to his stance on the war in Gaza, NBC News reported on Nov. 7. The organizations included March for Our Lives, United We Dream, Gen Z for Change and the Sunrise Movement.

“We are experts in youth voting behavior who have worked tirelessly across the years to generate Generation Z and Millennial enthusiasm for civic action under a variety of circumstances,” the group wrote. “We write to you to issue a very stark and unmistakable warning: you and your Administration’s stance on Gaza risks millions of young voters staying home or voting third party next year.”

Biden has faced various protest votes over his handling of the war in states like Michigan, Minnesota and Washington. Most recently, pro-Palestinian advocates encouraged Democratic primary voters to support the “unrestricted” option in the battleground state of Wisconsin on Tuesday, which received over 48,000 ballots.

“We’re seeing in Michigan and Minnesota that this voting uninstructed or uncommitted has been working, and opinions in D.C. have been somewhat changing,” Jamilah Arabiyat, president of Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, told NBC News ahead of the primary.

Polling in battleground states like Wisconsin, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Arizona and Nevada also suggests that Biden’s numbers among young people are lagging.

Scott Jennings, a Republican strategist and veteran of numerous campaigns, told the DCNF that he also believes the president’s age and the economy are reasons why young voters are fleeing.

“Biden is super old, and shit’s expensive. And like, you know, these are young, very young people, looking at Joe Biden thinking, ‘I have nothing in common with this person, whatsoever.’ And also, they’re living the same life that the rest of us are living every time they walk into a grocery store or go out to a restaurant,” said Jennings. “It’s extraordinarily close, and so if 10,000 20-year-olds sat out the race in Wisconsin or Georgia or Nevada or anywhere else, I mean you can see what a big problem this is for him.”

Biden’s campaign did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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