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Young people growing more disillusioned and disconnected from Washington

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A new Harvard Institute of Politics (IOP) poll of 18- to 29- year-olds finds young people are growing more disillusioned and disconnected from Washington.

IOP Polling Director John Della Volpe said, "There’s an erosion of trust in the individuals and institutions that make government work — and now we see the lowest level of interest in any election we’ve measured since 2000 [when the poll began]."

The new poll shows 18- to 29- year-olds' trust in public institutions at a five-year low.

This disillusion is expected to result in low participation in November's midterm elections. Less than one-in-four (23%) of young Americans say they will "definitely be voting in November. That's down 11 percent from five months ago and 8 percent lower than seen during a similar time prior to the 2010 midterm elections.

Among the most likely voters, the new IOP poll also finds that traditional Republican constituencies are more enthusiastic than Democrats about participating in the upcoming midterms – 44% of 2012 Romney voters say they will definitely be voting – compared to only 35% of 2012 Obama voters. Self-identified conservatives are 10% more likely to vote than liberals; men are 9% more likely to vote than women; and young Whites are 8% more likely to vote than African Americans and Hispanics.

Despite finding President Obama’s job approval rating has improved from last November's historic low (41%), the poll finds a majority disapproved of Obama's handling on every issue measured:

  • Climate Change (51%)
  • The Economy (61%)
  • Iran (59%)
  • Health Care (59%)
  • The Budget Deficit (66%)
  • Syria (62%)
  • Student Debt (60%)
  • Ukraine (59%)

The 2014 midterm election is starting to feel like 2010.