Harvard survey predicts Gen Z voting wave in midterm elections

"Our new poll shows that those historic midterm numbers were not a fluke: Gen Z is a formidable voting bloc that demands to be heard."

Stephanie Zollshan/The Berkshire Eagle via AP
election news:

Forty percent of 18-to-29-year-olds said that they will “definitely” vote in the midterm elections, according to a national poll released by the Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School Thursday, suggesting the record-breaking youth turnout in the 2018 midterms will be matched or potentially exceeded.

“In 2018, America’s youngest voters ran to the polls in record-breaking numbers to confront the challenges facing our democracy. Our new poll shows that those historic midterm numbers were not a fluke: Gen Z is a formidable voting bloc that demands to be heard,” said IOP Interim Director Setti Warren. 


The poll, which included 2,123 participants, found that young voters prefer continued Democratic control of Congress 57% to 31% (with 12% undecided), but only 39% approve the job President Biden’s been doing. This presidential approval rating is down from 41% in an IOP poll in spring 2022 and 59% in an IOP poll in spring 2021.

Thirty-one percent approve of his handling of the economy and 25% approve of his handling of inflation. Job approval rates for Biden are correlated with how closely participants follow national politics — among those who follow the news very closely, he gets 48% approval, but among those who do not follow the news, he gets 28% approval. 

A majority of young Americans, though, are happy with the recent accomplishments of Biden and Congress: 54% said the cancellation of $10,000 of student debt will make America better; 64% said the bipartisan gun law will make America better, and 65% said the Inflation Reduction Act will make America better.

Fifty-nine percent of participants believe their rights are under attack, and 72% of participants believe the rights of others are under attack. LGBTQ+ are most worried, with 72% reporting anxiety about their own individual rights. Sixty-three percent of women and 55% of men think their rights are under attack.

Among likely voters, the top issues drawing them to the polls are inflation, abortion, protecting democracy, climate change, gun control, immigration, crime, and student loan debt.

Priorities were broken down by party. The top issue for Republicans is inflation; for nearly 40%, that is their top issue. Among Democrats, 20% say they’re inspired by abortion, 20% by protecting democracy, 19% by inflation, and 16% by climate change.


Priorities differed by gender as well. Among men’s top issues, 34% said inflation, 22% said protecting democracy, and 10% said abortion. Among women’s top issues, the order was flipped: abortion took the top spot with 24%, then inflation at 21%, and then protecting democracy at 13%.  

“For many young Americans, abortion rights, the future of our planet, and our democracy itself are all on the line this November – and they are acting accordingly,” said Alan Zhang, a junior at Harvard and student chair of the Harvard Public Opinion Project. 

See the full results of the poll here:


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