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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Young Voters Moving Democratic (Even Before Edwards!)

It seems plausible that adding Edwards will enhance the Democratic ticket’s appeal to young voters. And that’s on top of Kerry’s already-strong performance among these voters–a trend I have repeatedly flagged in DR. Here are some more findings underscoring that trend, this time from the Newsweek GenNext poll, on how well the Democrats are poised to do with young voters, gathered before Edwards was added to the ticket.
1. Young voters give Democrats a 10 point edge on party ID (50-40).
2. Young voters give Bush a 43 percent approval rating, with 55 percent disapproval, his worst rating yet among young voters in this poll. And all his other approval ratings among young voters are net negative as well and mostly worse than his overall approval rating: the economy (43/56); domestic issues like health care, education, the environment and energy (40/56); foreign policy issues and the war on terrorism (47/52); and the situation in Iraq (39/60).
3. The Democrats have a 10 point lead in the generic Congressional contest (50-40).
4. Kerry has a 9 point lead over Bush in the presidential trial heat (49-40), even with Nader drawing 7 percent support. And note that Nader’s support appears to be falling among young voters–every one of these surveys since March, when Nader peaked at 12 percent, has recorded a drop in Nader’s support.
Really, the only problem for the Democrats here is if young voters have exceptionally low turnout in November. But the opposite appears likely to happen, according to a just-released analysis by the Pew Research Center.
That’s good for democracy–and very good for the Democrats.

11 comments on “Young Voters Moving Democratic (Even Before Edwards!)

  1. LuLu on

    Just an observation: my 21 year old son said most of his friends from college are strongly anti-Bush and active in politics. However, he also hangs out with a large group of kids who went into blue-collar jobs after high school. Those kids are either pro-Bush or don’t care at all.

  2. Mimiru on

    I don’t think Sully could ever bring himself NOT to vote for Bush. I’ve seen the way he almost breaks away and then comes rushing back for some reason or another.
    I don’t really know about the others though.

  3. Marcus Lindroos on

    By the way (a quick thought after scanning a number of well-known libertarian blogs):
    Kerry/Edwards would be well advised to try to exploit the rift between social conservatives (who adore “Shrub” and “Right Wing Dick” no matter how much they screw up Iraq or the federal deficit) and libertarians. Most of the leading libertarian bloggers such as Andrew Sullivan, Jacob Levy and Dan Drezner are now leaning strongly towards voting for Kerry this year.
    One nice soundbite in the current “values” flamefest would be for Kerry to publicly taunt the GOP for giving so much air time to Arnie, Rudy, John McCain as GOP convention speakers. Kerry should join forces with the Family Research Council(!) by saying the Bush Administration should show what its “values” are by giving a prominent place to guys like Ashcroft, Rick Santorum, Sam Brownback, Henry Hyde etc.. Wouldn’t it be great if the New York convention would primarily showcase bible-thumpers, homophobes and other intolerants… That was a major reason why Poppy lost the 1992 elections to Clinton; the GOP convention in Houston had to give lots of room to disgruntled social conservatives, and it scared away the moderates.
    As an aside, I have always thought Ruy’s book about the “Emerging Democratic Majority” might not necessarily predict the future even if the demographic/cultural trends turn out to be correct. Doesn’t it make sense to assume the Republican Party only will start to favor socially moderate fiscal conservatives at the expense of social conservatives, when that happens? After all, Arnold Schwarzenegger, William Weld, Michael Bloomberg & Rudy Giuliani have all been successful in heavily Democratic states.

  4. Marcus Lindroos on

    Well that’s great news, then. Remember: the GOP automatically benefits from a low turnout on election day plus mis-informed voters.
    BTW, didn’t some polls indicate a shocking number of Americans actually believe WMDs *have* been found in Iraq and that they *were* used against U.S. troops during the invasion?? No — I am not talking about the single artillery shell containing sarin found so far. I am talking about the whole shebang that Cheney strongly “suggested” would be found in Iraq by now.
    It is frustrating isn’t it? If many people can’t even tell Osama’s Afghanistan from Saddam’s Iraq, or fact from fiction in general, it’s little wonder “Shrub’s” $200-million hate campaign of mis-information is quite effective.

  5. Diane on

    As the mother of three – ages 25, 22 and 18 – I can agree with Sean that the members of the younger generation I come into contact with are heavily involved in this year’s election. It’s a frequent topic of passionate conversation among them. This is no generic election to them – they feel their own future is in the balance.

  6. Greg on

    I fear that the disparity between those in the know and those not in the know will grow wider and wider in the 18-29 (though I think that’s a little too large of a lumping in my opinion).
    Wonky kids are great but I really wonder if that’s a percentage which is growing.

  7. Mimiru on

    As an 18-29 year old I don’t see too much wrong with some cyber-worshipping but then, as someone who has actually given money to political campaigns, and followed primaries since 2003, I am admittedly not a typical 18-29 year old.

  8. Sean Flaherty on

    The ignorance of 18-29-year-olds is, to judge from my not necessarily representative experience of living in a college town, not conspicuous by the standards of the American electorate. And I also see among them an undiminshed ability to analyze what information they do absorb. Most heartening, I’ve met a hell of a lot more wonky kids than I would have dreamed, a few years go, of existing in 2004. In the the late 1990s, we all pretty much expected a cyber-worshipping, materialistic Dark Ages to to descend when the Baby Boomers left the scene. It still might happen, but at least cautious optimism is justified now.
    I predict, safely, I think, that voter participation among 18-29-year-olds this year will be at least 20 percentage points above its 2000 level, and I am willing to wager $100 that it will be 30 percentage points higher. Any takers can e-mail me to negotiate conditions:)

  9. Greg on

    There was a poll that Amy Sullivan (of politicalaims.com) pointed to that showed some pretty uneducated folks out there… Though I guess it’s good that Democrats have a favourable party ID…


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