Millennials aren't fond of President Trump. That's no secret. But just how much they dislike the president depends largely on their race and ethnicity.
A new poll from GenForward, a polling and research organization focused on young adults and based out of the University of Chicago, found that 76 percent of African American millennials disapprove of the president and his dealings in the White House and only 10 percent approve. Meanwhile, 55 percent of white millennials disapprove of his job performance and 29 percent approve.
But white millennials are starting to lose confidence in the president quickly, according to the researchers. In a May GenForward poll, 47 percent of white millennials disapproved of Trump — less than half.
Understanding millennials' attitudes toward politics is increasingly key, since they are poised to become the largest voting bloc in the 2020 election, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.
In general millennials, defined here as ages 18 to 35, claim to be more liberal than other generations and are more likely to identify with socialist values. But they are not a homogeneous group — in fact, they are the most diverse generation — and too often surveys don't tell us how these political beliefs break down with respect to race and ethnicity.
The largest rift among millennials falls along party lines. A small percentage of millennials of color hold favorable views of the Republican Party, compared with a third of white young adults. Here, white millennials' attitudes toward the GOP more closely mirror those of the country as a whole. According to a recent Pew poll, 40 percent of Americans view the GOP favorably. Meanwhile, 33 percent of white millennials also have a favorable opinion.
A similar gap exists between millennials of color and their white peers when it comes to attitudes toward the Democratic Party. A strong majority of millennials of color hold favorable views of the party, compared with just over a third of white young adults. Millennials overall are aligned with the rest of the country. Nationwide, according to Pew, 45 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the Democrats.
Yet another major division between millennials appears in their attitudes on how the Democratic Party should engage with the Trump administration and other GOP leaders. A solid majority of millennials of color believe the Democrats should resist the right. In other words, they are Democrats' hardcore base.
But only 36 percent of white millennials feel the same. Instead, the majority of young white adults, 63 percent, think Democrats should work with the GOP and try to find a compromise. What remains to be seen is how the attitudes of millennials of color may change as Democrats seek ways to compromise with GOP leadership.
All that being said, millennials are still some of Trump's biggest critics. Among voters of all ages, Trump's six-month approval rating reached a historical low, hovering around 36 percent. Among millennials, approval for Trump is even lower. Only 22 percent of all millennials surveyed approve of Trump and the way he is handling the presidency. A solid majority, 62 percent, disapprove of Trump.
With respect to Congress, millennials also seem to be in agreement. Only 16 percent of millennials surveyed approve of Congress and the way it's handling its job. Congressional approval nationwide is also low. As of early June, 74 percent of Americans disapproved of the legislative body, according to a Gallup poll.
These differences are significant. In addition to being the largest generation, millennials are also the most diverse. Forty-four percent of millennials are people of color, according to the Brookings Institution. Vladimir Medenica, one of the researchers on the survey, says not enough surveys take into consideration all of the differences among millennials, making it hard to truly understand how the generational diversity affects its politics.
“What we don't know is if all of this diversity is meaningful for politics,” he said. “There is lot of literature and discussion about how these things correlate with political attitudes and expressed political behavior. But there is no real data on what is actually happening.”
The GenForward survey offers a clear snapshot into young adult's attitudes: Millennials of all stripes are not satisfied with the current state of politics. At the same time, millennials are not as united as they are often made out to be. This poll suggests the generation's leftward-leaning sentiments are due in large part to the attitudes of millennials of color.