Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Young-Adult Voters' Attitudes Toward President Biden Roughly Three Months Before 2022 Midterm Elections

Five-Thirty-Eight has a piece today examining the low percentage (slightly below 40%) of 18-29 year-old Americans who approve of the job President Joe Biden is doing. This approval rate is not that different from that of Americans as a whole; however, considering young voters' overwhelming support of Biden in the 2020 election, their diminished approval is highly notable. The article explores many possible reasons for Biden's dip among young adults, but one in particular meshes with the study of emerging adulthood.

Extensive research on laypersons' criteria for considering someone an adult shows one of the three primary standards to be whether the person has achieved financial independence. The Five-Thirty-Eight article notes that those transitioning to adulthood indeed hold themselves to this standard ("35 percent of Americans age 15 to 25 said financial independence was their most or second-most important life aspiration, ahead of other priorities such as having a fulfilling career or being married"). The uneven economic performance under Biden -- low unemployment but high inflation -- is thus likely dragging down approval for the President.

Emerging-adulthood scholars also are interested in young adults' election turnout -- traditionally low but strong in the last midterm election year of 2018. There are, of course, questions of whether low enthusiasm for Biden will affect 18-29 year-olds' turnout to vote this upcoming November. The Five-Thirty-Eight piece quotes John Della Volpe, a pollster specializing in young voters, to the effect that "Despite the frustration that young people have about government in general, they just feel more connected to voting.” 

Personally, I'll need more evidence in the coming years to proclaim young adults "connected to voting." But if they do turn out heavily this November despite their current low enthusiasm for President Biden, it will be noteworthy.

No comments: