Opinion: Is Biden Losing the Youth Vote?

Photo courtesy of MGN.

By Brooke Holder

The youth vote was credited as a key part to President Biden winning the 2020 presidential election. According to Tisch’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, “young people turned out at a higher rate in 2020… and their impact—especially youth of color’s overwhelming support for Biden—was decisive in key races across the country.” 

Pew Research found that Biden led the vote 59% to 33% among voters under 30 in 2020. The youth vote was expected to make a similar commitment to Biden in the 2024 Presidential Election. However, recent polling reveals Biden’s support for Israel has negatively affected his support from some younger voters.

A poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, co-founded by Bill McInturff, shows that 59% of voters in Generation Z are unsatisfied with Biden’s policies concerning Israel. As of April 2024 Biden’s overall support rate has dropped from 49%, in January 2024, to 44%. 

“Some data does indicate that young people are dissatisfied with the current administration’s actions on the conflict,” says Alberto Medina, Communications Team Lead at Tisch College’s CIRCLE Research Center. “But that does not necessarily mean they trust other candidates, like former President Trump, to handle the issue better.” If the youth vote is shifting it has not yet been determined where it is going.

These small shifts in support can be costly to a democratic presidential campaign that relies on voters that have frequently voted Blue; like youth, women, and people of color. Bill McInturff says, “Margins matter in winning campaigns. In 2020, 18 to 29 year old voters were only 17% of the electorate, but they voted for Biden by 24 points (60% Biden/36% Trump). That is a 4.1% margin in a race that Biden won by 4.5%.” 

The first Presidential Debate of 2024, on June 28th, could be a chance for both Presidential candidates to attract the youth vote, if it is truly up for grabs. Both parties will want to seem appealing to a generation that cares deeply about how the next four years of their life will be changed by their country’s president.