Younger voters skew less white and more economically diverse than older generations. Democrats hope that Vice President Kamala Harris’s vociferous support for abortion rights and gun control will get them to turn out in support of Joe Biden and the Democrats next year.
Harris remains wildly unpopular with the broader electorate, stuck at just under 40 percent since October 2021, according to FiveThirtyEight. In June, Harris scored a net negative -17 approval rating in an NBC News poll, the lowest in the history of the poll.
Democrats Should Rally Behind Kamala Harris?
“Harris has put in the work to show up for young people like no vice president has before. She listens to us. She sees us. And on every issue young people care about — whether it’s gun violence or reproductive rights or climate change — she has shown that she will defend them as much as she can. For a generation all too often overlooked by our political system, having a leader like Kamala Harris fighting for us is more meaningful than many might believe,” former Biden delegate at the 2020 Democratic National Convention Victor Shi writes in an MSNBC column.
Harris remains somewhat popular among Democratic Party activists. Seventy-eight percent of Democrats told a recent CBS News poll that they approve of Harris; however, only 30 percent said they were “enthusiastic” about her.
“Aside from her popularity among nonwhite voters and women, Harris brings an overlooked and underappreciated strength to the ticket: the support of Generation Z. And as recent elections have proved, my generation is a must-win demographic for Biden and the Democrats in 2024,” Shi writes. “As the first woman and person of color to hold such an office, Harris carries a powerful symbolic resonance for young people that previous (white, male) vice presidents didn’t.
“Harris epitomizes everything this generation wants to see in a leader: someone who reflects the country’s diversity and actively paves a path for young people.”
Shi argues that the CBS News poll suggests that Harris does well with younger voters.
“In that same poll, 55% of young people viewed Harris’ work in the administration as a “good thing,” more than 20 points higher than those over the age of 65. Polling from earlier this year reveals a similar pattern of young people supporting Harris at considerably higher rates than those in older age groups,” Shi writes. “The White House and Biden’s campaign should not only ignore them but actively promote Harris at every turn possible. Let her be for Biden what Biden was for Barack Obama — an essential partner in governance and a close friend. Get her in front of as many young people as possible to fire up this critical voting bloc for the Democrats.”
Polling Shows Weak Support for Biden-Harris
Voters vote for the man at the top of the ticket, not the vice presidential candidate.
However, polling shows that young voters are not enthused by the 2024 election, which could be a bad sign for Democrats. Young voters are 50-50 over whether they are enthused about the election. Fifty-three percent told a survey by American University’s Sine Institute for Policy and Politics they would consider voting for a third-party candidate.
Young black voters likewise are less than enthused by Joe Biden, according to a survey by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
“Opinions of Biden and his administration among younger black Americans are poor. Only 58 percent approve of his job performance, compared to nearly 80 percent of older black Americans. Despite a recent push to tout ‘Bidenomics’ in battleground cities—the president was in Philadelphia over Labor Day and Milwaukee a couple weeks prior—Biden has not convinced young nonwhite voters that his administration has done a whole lot. A paltry 36 percent of young black Americans think Biden has accomplished a ‘good’ or ‘great deal,’” AEI says.
Despite the hopes of Democratic Party activists, the warning signs suggest that Biden and Harris could have their work cut out for them among younger voters in 2024.
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.
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