Ask any top Democrat to name the highest priority in the six final days of the 2014 midterm campaign, and you'll get a version of the same answer: The party must energize young and minority voters and get them to show up at the polls in far greater numbers than they have in recent non-presidential elections.
A new poll released Wednesday by Harvard's Institute of Politics suggests Democrats are failing miserably on that front when it comes to Millennials, the generation that helped Barack Obama make history in 2008. The survey of just over 2,000 18-29-year-olds broadly indicated a shift away from Democrats in 2014, leading the pollsters to declare Millennials "up for grabs" in the midterms.
But the most stunning finding came from the question of which party young voters wanted to see control Congress next year. Among all respondents, 50 percent chose the Democrats and 43 percent picked Republicans. But among the much smaller subset of respondents who said they would "definitely" vote this fall, the GOP won, 51 percent to 47 percent.
Who Would You Prefer to Control Congress?
The idea that young people–once identified as closely with Obama as any group except African Americans–would prefer a Republican Congress would have been unthinkable either in 2008 or 2012. The number is even scarier for Democrats when compared to 2010, when even in a Republican wave year the Harvard poll found that "definite" young voters preferred a Democratic Congress by a margin of 55 percent to 43 percent.