Millennial voters who overwhelmingly backed President Barack Obama's two presidential bids are rejecting the Democrat Party this election, with a majority saying they want to see Republicans in control of Congress, a new poll has found.
According to a poll by Harvard's Institute of Politics of 2,029 18- to 29-year-olds conducted Sept. 26-Oct. 9, 51 percent of those who said they are "definitely" voting on Tuesday indicated they prefer a Republican-run Congress
, compared to 47 percent who want Democrats in control.
The results represent a dramatic reversal of views immediately before the 2010 midterm elections when 55 percent of millennials preferred that Democrats control Congress compared to 43 percent who favored the Republicans.
"The IOP's fall polling shows that young Americans care deeply about their country and are politically up-for-grabs," said Harvard Institute of Politics Director Maggie Williams in a statement. "Millennials could be a critical swing vote. Candidates for office: ignore millennial voters at your peril."
The poll also found that among the 26 percent of those surveyed who say they are definitely voting, Republicans are significantly more energized about the election than Democrats. Specifically, 42 percent of Republicans under 30 say they will definitely vote compared to just 30 percent of young Democrats.
At the same time, however, millennials give a higher approval rating to Democrats in Congress than Republicans at 35 percent compared to 23 percent. The poll also narrowly rates Democrats more highly in their handling of the economy, immigration, foreign policy, race relations, and healthcare.
"While Democrats have lost ground among members of America's largest generation, millennial views of Republicans in Congress are even less positive," said Harvard Institute of Politics Polling Director John Della Volpe in a statement. "Both parties should re-introduce themselves to young voters, empower them and seek their participation in the upcoming 2016 campaign and beyond."
Obama's plummeting job approval among millennials could explain some of the shift.
According to the poll, the president's job approval rating among those surveyed is 43 percent, a drop from 47 percent in April, and the second lowest approval rating since he took office.
And among young Americans most likely to vote, his job approval is 42 percent, with 56 percent saying they disapprove.
Sixty-one percent of millennials say they are "a great deal" or "somewhat" concerned about another terrorist attack, and there is strong support for the president's expansion of air strikes against ISIS, with 39 percent supporting it compared to 20 percent against.
Meanwhile, the survey also found that support for Obama among young Hispanics has plummeted from 81 percent in 2009 to just 49 percent. The results are a stark contrast to just two years ago when Obama won their support by 51-points against GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, or 74 percent compared to 23 percent.
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