November 3, 2011

Generational Differences in Views of Obama

40 to 19

The over-65 Silent generation is more likely than younger age cohorts to say that President Obama makes them angry. Four-in-ten Silents share this sentiment compared to 19% of Millennials.

There are sharp generational differences in negative personal reactions toward President Obama, particularly feelings of anger and unease. Overall, when asked if the President makes them feel angry, 29% of people say yes and 70% say no. Four-in-ten (40%) say Obama makes them feel uneasy and 53% say they have been disappointed by him.

The over-65 Silent group is more likely than younger age cohorts to say that Obama makes them feel angry — 40% of Silents share this sentiment compared with 32% of Boomers, 28% of Gen Xers and 19% of Millennials. In a callback survey of voters shortly after the 2008 presidential election, just 11% of Silents — along with comparable percentages of voters in other age cohorts — said Obama made them angry.

Even in the honeymoon period following Obama’s victory, Silents and Boomers were more likely than Gen Xers or Millennials to express unease with Obama — these differences have persisted. In a recent survey, Silents are the only age cohort in which a majority (52%) say Obama makes them feel uneasy; 43% of Boomers, 36% of Gen Xers and 33% of Millennials share this view.

Notably, the differences between Silents and Millennials on the issue of anger and unease towards Obama are similarly wide among both whites and the public at-large. Nearly half of white Silents (46%) say Obama makes them feel angry; 58% say he makes them feel uneasy. Among white Millennials, 22% say he makes them feel angry, while 39% say he makes them feel uneasy. Read More