Approval of Obama, Both Parties in Congress, Slide Across the Board; Near Majority Would Support Recalling Congress and the President


Obama Job Approval at Low Point, Approval of Both Parties in Congress Also Declines

During the time that our survey was being conducted, most national polls reported that President Obama’s approval rating was between 37 and 40 percent, and less than a quarter believed our nation was headed in the right direction.   In our survey, which focuses exclusively on young Americans between the ages of 18 and 29, these Millennials were only slightly more likely to view President Obama favorably than the general population as a whole.  Forty-one percent (41%) of 18- to 29- year olds indicated that they approved of his performance as president, while 54 percent indicated that they disapproved.  This is the lowest approval rating we have reported since the beginning of his presidency (December 2011 was 46%) and a drop of 11 percentage points since our last survey was released in April 2013.

A majority of both major age cohorts, 18- to 24- year olds (39% approve, 56% disapprove) and 25- to 29- year olds (43% approve, 53% disapprove), disapprove of the president’s job performance, and his ratings in every subgroup are significantly lower than they were in the Spring of 2013.  For example, his approval rating among college students is down 11 percentage points to 39 percent, young male voters slipped 9 percentage points to 41 percent approval and this rating is now statistically tied with young female voters, whose approval of the president dropped 15 points to 40 percent.  Young white voters’ approval dropped by 10 points to 28 percent, Hispanics decreased by 18 points (53% approval) -- and approval among young Black voters slipped 9 percentage points, but was still strong at 75 percent.

The 11-point drop in the president’s approval rating brings him closer in line with Democrats and Republicans in Congress.  Slightly more than two-in-five (41%) young Americans under 30 approve of the way President Obama is handling his job, while 35 percent feel the same about Democrats in Congress (down from 40% in the Spring) and 19 percent feel the same about the Republicans in Congress (down from 27%).

Percentage Who Believe America Headed in the Right Direction Falls Again to Under 15

Less than one-in-five (14%) young Americans in our poll indicate that the country is headed in the right direction, 49 percent believe its headed in the wrong direction, while 34 percent are not sure. 

This drop in optimism was very pronounced among 18- to 29- year old females. The percent responding that the nation is moving in the right direction decreased by 14 percentage points from 2012 to 2013, compared to just 7 percentage points for males over the same time period.  The percent of Black Millennials under 30 believing that the country is moving in the direction also dropped significantly from 2012 to 2013. In 2012, 49 percent of Black respondents believed the country was moving in the right direction. Now, less than one-in-four (24%) believe the country is moving in the right direction.

Obama’ Job Approval Rating Falls to One-Third on Key Issues

Compared to our Spring survey, President Obama’s job performance also decreased significantly across the four major issues that we have tracked in 2013.  His approval rating for the way that he handled Iran is down 10 percentage points to 37 percent, his performance on health care is down 9 points to 34 percent, his performance on handling the economy is down nine points to 33 percent, and approval of the way he is handling the federal budget deficit is down eight points to 28 percent.  While we did not ask about Syria in our Spring survey, currently one-third (33%) of 18- to 29- year olds approve of the president’s job performance on Syria, while 60 percent disapprove.


A Near Majority Support Recall of Congress and the President

In an attempt to place young voters’ attitudes about the president, Democrats and Republicans in Washington, D.C. into context, we found that 17 percent of those who voted for President Obama in 2012 would not support him if they could recast their vote today;  83 percent of those who supported President Obama versus Mitt Romney tell us that they would vote again for Obama if they could recast their vote, only four percent (4%) would vote for Mitt Romney if they could, eight percent (8%) said they would vote for “someone else” and those remaining declined to answer.

Additionally, we found that a majority (52%) of 18- to 29- year olds would choose to recall all members of Congress if it were possible, 45 percent would recall their member of Congress (45% would not) and approximately the same number indicate that they would recall President Obama (47% recall, 46% not recall). 

In a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, released in October 2013 during the time of the government shutdown, 60 percent of adults in the U.S. would cast a vote to defeat and replace every single member of Congress, including their own representative, if provided an opportunity.

Among those indicating in our poll that they would recall the president if they could include:

  1. A majority (52%) of voters under the age 25, compared to 40 percent between 25 and 29;
  2. 19 percent of those who voted for him in 2012;
  3. 19 percent of Democrats, 82 percent of Republicans and  51 percent of Independent voters; and
  4. 58 percent of young Whites, 35 percent of Hispanics and 21 percent of Blacks.

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