A new Harvard poll that surveyed the political attitudes of young Americans found that millennials’ trust in government has reached “historically low numbers,” the crucial demographics' confidence in the presidency declining most sharply.
Harvard’s poll released Tuesday found that Americans from ages 18 to 29 have drastically soured in the last four years in their trust in a wide range of government institutions, including the presidency, Congress, the Supreme Court, the U.S. military and the United Nations.
The poll asked participants to describe how often they trusted various government offices and institutions “to do the right thing?” The following percentages are based on those who responded "all" or "most of the time."
Of all the institutions the survey tracked, the presidency lost the most trust. Since Feb 2010, confidence in the president plummeted 12 points, from 44% to 32%. The trust in the federal government and the Supreme Court both fell 9 points (to 20% and 36%, respectively). The lowest rated government body was Congress with an abysmal 14% trust rating, down 11%.
Millennials’ most trusted government entity was the U.S. military at 47%, though that too had dropped significantly, falling 6 points since 2010.
Below is a “composite trust index” chart that combines the trust ratings for all the major government entities followed by a list of the categories with comparisons to previous years.
As Business Insider reports, the key demographic’s overall drop in confidence in the federal government is unwelcome news for Democrats in the midterms. However, that is not the only bad news for the left, as the pollsters found a major enthusiasm gap for the 2014 election cycle:
"Currently, less than one-in-four (24%) young Americans under the age of 30 say that they will 'definitely be voting,' in the upcoming midterm elections for Congress, a sharp decrease of 10 percentage points since the Fall," the pollsters said. "During a similar time of the year in 2010, 31 percent of 18- to 29- year olds reported that they would definitely vote."
The study found the enthusiasm gap for 2014 does not impact conservatives as significantly.
Pollsters also noted a “subtle shift” toward Republican affiliation occurring in the 18-24 category; however, that difference is negated by the increase in Democrat affiliation in the 25-29 range: