2014 Midterms

Trust In Government Hits Record Low Amongst Millenials

Courtesy: Scarborough

Courtesy: Scarborough

Young Americans have lost faith in most government institutions, according to a new poll conducted by Harvard University.  The new poll showed millennials have lost faith in the President, military, Congress, Supreme Court, and the entire federal government.  However, the greatest change in numbers came in the youth’s trust in the President and the military.  Even more troubling, the poll found that only 24% of those polled will “definitely be voting” in November’s midterm elections.  That number has decreased by 10 percent since a similar poll was taken in the Fall of 2013.  Millennials, for the purposes of this poll, are described as those people aged 18-29.  


Harvard’s poll showed millennials, which the pollsters defined as peopled aged 18 to 29, have lost trust in a variety of different major public institutions including the President, the military, Congress, the Supreme Court, and the federal government as a whole. Of all the institutions tracked by the poll, the President and the military lost the most trust among young Americans with a seven point drop. Overall, the pollsters said the level of trust millennials have in “most American institutions tested in our survey” had dropped below even “last year’s historically low numbers.”

This chart created by the pollsters shows the steep declines in their “composite trust index,” which is the level of trust on average in six different public institutions; the President, the U.S. Military, the Supreme Court, the federal government, and the United Nations. The drop is dramatic:

Millenial Poll 1


The pollsters also created this chart showing young peoples’ levels of trust in almost every public institution included in the poll dropping. Wall Street and the United Nations were the only institutions where the percentage of people who said they trusted them “to do the right thing” “all or most of the time” stayed flat:



The historically low levels of trust in the White House and the government at large weren’t the only bits of bad news in the poll for President Barack Obama and other Democrats. In general, the poll showed millennials aren’t excited about this year’s midterm elections.

“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.”

However, the poll found young conservatives are more likely to vote this year than liberal millennials.

“Currently, there seems to be more enthusiasm for midterm voting among traditional Republican consistencies than Democratic ones,” the pollsters explained. “For example, 44 percent of those who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 say they are ‘definitely voting,’ which is a statistically significant difference compared to the 35 percent of 2012 Obama voters who say the same. Additionally, self-identified conservatives (32%) are 10 points more likely to vote than liberals (22%).”


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