Young Americans are highly disillusioned with national politics but plan to vote in high numbers in November, according to a new poll from the Harvard Kennedy School.

More than a third of voters ages 18-29 — 36% — told pollsters they would “definitely” vote in the midterm elections, a figure that puts this year's election on track with the record-breaking 36% youth turnout in 2018. But that steady topline figure obscures significant demographic shifts in who, exactly, plans to vote: a 7% uptick among Republicans and 5% fall among Democrats. A significant 13% drop in interest from young Black Americans helped drive the Democratic downturn.

To John Della Volpe, who’s led the Harvard Public Opinion Project for more than 20 years, the results don’t look good.

“I'm not sure that there's great news in here, frankly, for either party, for Democrats or Republicans,” Della Volpe said in a call to announce the findings Monday. “I don't think there's a lot to be happy about.”

Pollsters also found that roughly four in 10 young people believe their votes don’t matter, and more than half question whether politics can meet the challenges the nation is facing.

Local students invested in politics drew a straight line between young voters’ mistrust in politics and their motivation to go to the polls.

“In classes, you hear a lot of students that are really disgruntled — like even myself,” said Olivia Cattan, a junior at Suffolk University who’s majoring in public policy and law. “Of course, the government may work, but there's a long and convoluted process that comes along with it.”

She and another Suffolk University student, senior Isabel Baynum, also pointed to the pandemic driving a major shift in their relationship to politics.

“Pre-pandemic, I felt very connected to being politically engaged and civically engaged in Boston,” said Baynum, who also studies public policy and law. “But that all came to a really fast halt as the pandemic sunk in my sophomore year. And so it became difficult to reestablish ourselves in terms of attending protests on the Common, getting involved with groups — apart from retweeting and reposting on our Instagram stories.”

One of Baynum’s strongest memories as a student was the Bernie Sanders rally on the Boston Common, right near the Suffolk dorms, ahead of the New Hampshire primary in 2020. She said it was a pivotal moment that made her realize the power she and other students held as young voters.

“It was a moment where all of my roommates, all of my floormates, we went to the rally,” she recalled. “And it was students who, despite their political ideology, were just like engaged and seeing the political moment, hearing the message. And I think that that's something that I see less of today, is just going and doing exploration into what is happening in the physical world of protest and politics.”

Cattan said she and her peers fight the cynical political narrative by voting and taking shifts as poll workers, getting locally engaged in the political process.

“It's really difficult for students like myself and my peers to reach that sort of federal level,” Cattan said. “So I think a lot of the frustration is, it's not reachable to us. It's not a tangible goal that we can go after.”