Glaring are Biden’s challenges with younger voters (NPR)

Struggles of President Biden with Younger Voters Persist: NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll

President Joe Biden, who won young voters by a significant margin in the 2020 election, is now facing challenges with this crucial voting bloc, according to a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. The survey reveals that Biden is locked in a tight race with former President Donald Trump, even in a head-to-head matchup, and falls behind when third-party candidates are introduced.

In a contest against Trump, Biden leads by a narrow margin of 50%-48%, but this advantage shrinks significantly when independent candidates Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Cornel West, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are included. In this scenario, Biden trails Trump by 4 points, and Trump leads by 6 points among Gen Z/Millennials and by 8 points among voters under 45.

Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, which conducted the survey, stated that younger voters do not see a connection with Biden. They are concerned about the cost of living, housing costs, and moving into adulthood, which they view as obstacles. These voters perceive the economy as a problem for Biden, laying it at his doorstep.

The poll reveals that younger voters have a low opinion of Biden’s job performance, have an unfavorable view of him, question his mental fitness to be president, and are not satisfied with his handling of key issues such as the economy, immigration, and the Israel-Hamas conflict.

While this disillusionment does not necessarily mean that younger voters have moved heavily toward Trump, it does indicate that they are an "unsatisfied, unattached, disliking-of-the-candidates group." Younger voters are among the most likely to say they will skip the presidential line on their 2024 ballot (12%) and are the least likely to say they are definitely voting (69%).

However, there is a potential opening for Biden with the group, as only 54% of Gen Z/Millennials say they have definitely made up their minds who they are voting for. One in five of those under 45 say a guilty verdict for Trump would make them less likely to vote for him, although 1 in 5 also say they would be more likely to vote for Trump if he is found not guilty.

The economy, immigration, Biden’s age and mental fitness, and the Israel-Hamas conflict are key issues contributing to younger voters’ disillusionment with Biden. Despite strong signs in the economy, younger voters are less happy than voters overall with how Biden is handling the economy. Biden also receives low ratings on his handling of immigration, and younger voters are more likely to question his mental fitness to be president. The Israel-Hamas conflict is another issue on which younger voters break with Biden.

The survey of 1,261 adults was conducted May 21 to 23 by the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. The margin of error for the overall sample is +/- 3.4 percentage points.