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Harvard Poll finds millennial swing voters skewing Republican

Harvard Institute of Politics Director: “The IOP’s fall polling shows that young Americans care deeply about their country and are politically up-for-grabs. Millennials could be a critical swing vote. Candidates for office: ignore millennial voters at your peril."

By JC Sevcik
Harvard Poll finds millennial swing voters skewing Republican
A Harvard Poll revealed only 26 percent of millennials polled plan on voting in the midterm elections, of which 51 percent say they're leaning toward the Republican party, while only 47 percent report an intention to vote Democrat. CC/Gphgrd01

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Harvard's Institute of Politics released a new national poll of 18- to 29-year-olds Wednesday which found millennials to be swing voters divided down party lines with a slight skew toward the GOP.

"The youth vote is very much up for grabs politically," John Della Volpe, the institute's polling director, said in a press conference Wednesday.

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The results represent a dramatic change from polling in previous midterms elections which have historically found millennial voters to be decidedly Democratic.

Of the 26 percent of young voters surveyed who said they will definitely turn out out at the polls to drop their ballot, 51 percent said they'd prefer a Republican led Congress while only 47 percent preferred a Democrat-controlled House and Senate, marking an almost even divide among millennial voters that may make them the swing-vote demographic in the coming election.

"The IOP's fall polling shows that young Americans care deeply about their country and are politically up-for-grabs," said Harvard IOP Director Maggie Williams.  "Millennials could be a critical swing vote. Candidates for office: ignore millennial voters at your peril."

President Barack Obama's polling was the second-lowest approval rating since he took office. Obama polled well among African-American voters, with a 78 percent approval rating, while young white voters expressed more disillusionment with his performance in the executive office, with 65 percent disapproving.

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But while Democrats may have suffered a setback in the polls with young voters, pollsters warn Republicans shouldn't celebrate just yet and advise both parties to engage with millennials, a constituency who, if the midterms are any indication, may play a decisive role in the next presidential election.

"While Democrats have lost ground among members of America's largest generation, millennial views of Republicans in Congress are even less positive," said Della Volpe.  "Both parties should re-introduce themselves to young voters, empower them and seek their participation in the upcoming 2016 campaign and beyond."

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