Joe Biden’s failure to keep his student loan pledge anger the biggest voting bloc in the US
President Joe Biden’s failure to implement a campaign pledge to write off $ 10,000 in student loan debt per borrower could jeopardize his position with the nation’s largest voting bloc.
Biden has expressed support for student debt cancellation during the 2020 election campaign and after becoming president-elect, but his administration has yet to act despite some Democrats’ insistence to do so.
Polls suggest younger Americans are more in favor of debt cancellation – and Biden won over voters ages 18-49 in the 2020 election.
Millennials (ages 25-40) and Gen Z (which includes kids as well as adults ages 18-24) – many of whom are in student loan debt – quickly become the largest voting bloc when they are taken together.
Think tank Center for American Progress wrote in a report released last year: “Although it is already the case in 2020 that millennials and Gen Z make up a larger share of eligible voters than baby boomers (38% vs. 28%), it is likely that, by 2024, these younger cohorts will also outnumber baby boomers among voters. “
Millennials and Gen Z made up 31% of voters in 2020, according to Democratic data company Catalist, while baby boomers and older generations made up 44%. Generation X made up about 25 percent.
This was an increase from 2016, when millennials and millennials made up 23% of the electorate and baby boomers and older generations made up 51%.
In the race for the White House, Biden won 59% of voters aged 18 to 29 and 55% of voters aged 30 to 49. Polls have consistently shown these groups to support debt cancellation.
A SurveyMonkey Audience poll conducted for Business Insider on February 22 of this year showed that only 11% of respondents aged 18 to 29 were opposed to some form of student debt cancellation. This was the lowest level of opposition in all age groups.
The poll also found that 33% of people aged 30 to 44 supported canceling all federal student loans, the highest level of support across all age groups.
A survey for Vox and Data for Progress, conducted between November 20 and 22, 2020, found that 64% of voters under the age of 45 supported Biden by forgiving up to $ 50,000 in student debt for borrowers earning up to to $ 125,000 per year.
A month later, a Harris poll found that 78% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 were in favor of forgiving a lump sum of student debt. The survey, conducted Dec. 18-21, also found that 73 percent of that group supported the cancellation of all student loan debts.
The Vox and Harris polls came after Biden, then president-elect, said on Nov. 16 that student debt “is holding people back” and reiterated his support for a $ 10,000 rebate.
Biden could also face the wrath of younger voters next year for not extending the moratorium on federal student loan repayments. This break was introduced in 2020, extended by former President Donald Trump and then extended again by Biden.
Refunds are expected to resume in February 2022, but some Democrats have called on the president to extend the break again.
A survey conducted by the Student Debt Crisis Center between November 1 and 14 found that 89% of fully employed student loan borrowers said they were not financially secure enough to resume payments by February 1st.
Some have called on Biden to honor his $ 10,000 debt pledge through executive action, but he has expressed skepticism about his power to do so.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested this week that the administration is still studying the matter. Psaki also said Congress could introduce a bill and the president would sign it. Passing a debt cancellation law could be difficult for Democrats, however.
The growing share of votes among millennials and Gen Z could cause problems for Biden and the Democratic Party in the upcoming midterm elections and beyond.