The Atlantic

The economy, the Edward Snowden revelations, and the Affordable Care Act have all stressed the president’s relationship with young Americans.

Garance Franke-Ruta
December 4 2013, 2:06 PM ET

There’s no heartbreak like the heartbreak of first love, and when it comes to politics, no disappointment more bitter than that of a young person who grows up to realize her one-time idol is all too human.

That’s the explanation offered by Harvard Institute of Politics pollster John Della Volpe and IOP Director Trey Grayson for the precipitous drop in Millennial generation support for President Obama in this year’s annual Survey of Young Americans’ Attitudes toward Politics and Public Service.

“We are now seeing a sea change among this critical demographic,” Grayson said. “The president has experienced a double-digit drop among Millennials over the past seven months and that rating is now the lowest we’ve seen during his presidency.”

The poll, conducted between October 30 and November 11, found that the president’s approval among 18- to 29-year-olds had dropped from 52 to 41 percent over the course of the year, and that younger Millennials—those between 18 and 24—were trending less Democratic.

“For the better part of four or five years, young people have been the outliers. They’ve been the folks who have been the most optimistic and most trusting of the president and Congress to actually solve the problems they most care about,” Della Volpe said, explaining what happened.

“You have a combination of two things. One is: Expectations [were] incredibly high—not just for the president but for Washington and adults in general—that have been unmet,” he said. “And then the second part of it is, you can see that there are very few aspects of the healthcare initiative that they approve of. They think quality will decrease, prices will increase. So it’s not surprising that that is taking a significant hit to the president’s approval ratings.”

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