(Adds quotes from Harvard official, details)
By Richard Valdmanis
Dec 4 (Reuters) - Young Americans are unhappy with virtually every
major thing President Barack Obama has done since he was re-elected, but
they would still vote for him today, according to the results of a
Harvard University survey released on Wednesday.
poll by Harvard's Institute of Politics of more than 2,000 people aged
18 through 29 is intended to provide insight into the political views of
the youngest U.S. voters. This increasingly influential demographic
known as the "millennial generation" has been a traditional base of
More than 50 percent of respondents in the
survey, taken between Oct. 30 and Nov. 11, said they disapproved of how
the Democratic president handled key issues in his second term,
including Syria, Iran, the economy, healthcare and the federal budget
Most cited the economy as their top concern.
disapproval ratings were higher for both Republicans and Democrats in
Congress. And a plurality of respondents, 46 percent, said they would
still vote for Obama for president if they could recast their 2012
ballots, compared with 35 percent who said they would vote for the
then-Republican nominee, Mitt Romney.
Some 55 percent of the
survey respondents who reported casting ballots in the 2012 presidential
election said they had voted for Obama, compared with 33 percent for
Institute of Politics Director Trey Grayson said the poll revealed cracks forming in Obama's base.
isn't a problem for Obama because he's not coming up for election
again," Grayson said in a conference call with reporters. "But it is a
potential problem for any Democratic candidate seeking to mobilize young
The results follow a CNN/ORC poll released on Nov.
25 that showed a growing number of Americans doubted Obama's ability to
manage the nation, amid ongoing problems plaguing the president's
signature domestic policy achievement, the healthcare reform law known
Obama's administration has also come under fire.
Critics claim it is dealing poorly with the Syrian government over its
alleged use of chemical weapons and Iran over its nuclear ambitions, and
has failed to rein in U.S. public spending or revive the economy.
57 percent of respondents in the Harvard poll said they disapproved of
the Obamacare law, with 40 percent expecting the quality of healthcare
to worsen and about half expecting such costs to rise.
22 percent in our survey who report that they have no insurance, less
than one-third tell us they are likely to enroll," according to the
report detailing the survey findings. "A plurality however are 50-50 and
are therefore open to enrolling under the right circumstances."
UNHAPPY WITH EVERYONE
Harvard survey respondents spread out the blame for Washington's
shortcomings beyond Obama and the Democratic Party. In terms of job
performance, 54 percent said they disapproved of the president, 59
percent disapproved of Democrats in Congress, and a whopping 75 percent
disapproved of Republicans in Congress.
Republicans took a hard line in the fight over October's U.S. government
shutdown, which was waged over the party's demands to stop the launch
of Obamacare. But delays in pay to some public workers, closings of
national parks and reductions in public services only deepened
"Nobody was happy with anybody after the shutdown," Grayson said.
which proposals they would prefer to see enacted to cut the federal
deficit, respondents tended to favor increasing taxes for the wealthy
and cutting certain types of military spending - including on the
nuclear arsenal and the size of the Navy fleet.
More than 70
percent also said they would prefer not to see any cuts to education
spending on kindergarten through high school, the poll showed.
a sign of ambivalence over the role of Edward Snowden, a contractor for
the National Security Agency, in unveiling details of the U.S. spying
program, 52 percent of survey respondents said they were not sure if he
was a traitor or a patriot. Some 22 percent labeled him a traitor and an
equal 22 percent labeled him a patriot.
Snowden is living in Russia as a fugitive after President Vladimir Putin granted him asylum against Washington's wishes.
Snowden stuff shows that these 18-to-29-year-olds are not that
supportive of giving up personal information for the interests of
national security," Grayson said. (Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing
by Scott Malone and Lisa Von Ahn)