President Joe Biden, who is seeking reelection in 2024, before he was elected in 2020, enjoyed national polling leads among key age demographics across the country, with a solid base of support among younger voters, leading 49 percent to 32 percent among 18–29-year-olds and 54 percent to 33 percent among 30–44-year-olds against former President Donald Trump, according to the last Economist-YouGov poll taken in Oct. 2020.
Almost three years later, the situation has dramatically changed. Inflation is higher, the economy is slowing down, Biden’s legislative record or lack thereof has been laid bare (Biden had very slim majorities his first two years making major bills very difficult to enact) and now other programs he campaigned on including student loan forgiveness and aggressive lawmaking under the guise of regulations by federal agencies have been rolled back by Supreme Court, with more to come.
Now, in the June Economist-YouGov poll, among key age groups, Biden still holds a 40 percent to 27 percent lead over Trump among 18–29-year-olds, but is now losing to Trump 40 percent to 39 percent among 30–44-year-olds. Those are Millennials, who are now fully integrated into the U.S. labor force and many are getting married and having kids. They started paying taxes years ago.
Overall, it represents a 22-point swing among Millennials, who number 72.2 million or almost 16 million potential voters with shifting attitudes born between 1980 and 1996, creating a massive opening for Trump or another potential GOP nominee to build Republican support among the largest age demographic in the country, more than either Baby Boomers or Generation X, who Trump also comfortably leads among at the moment.
Trump is ahead of Biden among 45–64-year-olds 46 percent to 34 percent, and among those 65 years old and older, 48 percent to 40 percent. Biden’s only lead comes among Generation Z, with 18-29-year-olds.
Given that partisan attitudes have remained roughly the same—Democrats still support Biden and Republicans still support Trump—the greatest shift for the moment appears to be among younger independents, or just independents in general.
Whereas in 2020, Biden led independents 48 percent to 39 percent, now Trump leads Biden 38 percent to 28 percent, with a third of independent voters up for grabs. For an incumbent president like Biden, that is indeed troubling news, as he attempts to reconstruct the coalition that got him elected during the Covid pandemic.
If demographics are destiny, then an aging population may be an emerging strength for Republicans in elections going forward, if indeed shifts in attitudes come with age. But swings among independents can be deceptive that way, and could just as easily signal an unpopular incumbent, opening the potential for Democrats to later win back wayward Millennials. But so far, Biden isn’t closing the deal. Stay tuned.
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.
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