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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Youth Brigades

Yes, everyone know that younger voters are part of Barack Obama’s electoral “base,” but it’s sometimes hard to grasp the sheer magnitude of Obama’s popularity among “millenials.” A new survey by USA Today/MTV and Gallup helps.
Here’s the bottom line, from Susan Page:

A USA TODAY/MTV/Gallup Poll of registered voters 18 to 29 years old shows Democrat Barack Obama leading Republican John McCain by 61%-32%, the most lopsided contest within an age group in any presidential election in modern times.

“Modern times” means since 1976, when publicly released exit polling began. John Kerry won under-30 voters by an 11 point margin. In case you’re bad at arithmetic, Obama’s margin in this new survey is 29%.
Clearly, John McCain’s problems with young voters weren’t helped by his selection of 44-year-old Sarah Palin–the youngest candidate on either ticket–as his running-mate. In the new survey, Palin’s favorable-unfavorable rating is 25/46 (McCain’s is 43/45; Obama’s is 71/23; and Biden’s is 43/35), and 55% of these under-30 voters think Palin’s not qualified to become president.
The size of the under-30 vote will, of course, determine its value to Obama. In the Democratic primaries, the percentage of the overall vote cast by under-30 voters nearly doubled from 2000, the last year with competitive primaries. The new voter registration numbers are certainly impressive: In Virginia, for example, which Bush won by 260,000 votes in 2004, there are more than 300,000 new voters on the rolls, and 41% of them are under 25.

One comment on “Youth Brigades

  1. Jon on

    I’ve been looking a lot at activism on Facebook, and Obama’s advantage there is even larger. In my view, The ratio of supporters on the two candidates’ pages (2,011,975/558,596) significantly understates the difference; Obama activism is more focused around the application, cause, and One Million Strong for Barack group — with 766,000 members a factor of six larger than the biggest pro-McCain group.
    The best estimate is that about 75% of the members in the One Million Strong group are 28 and under, so this clearly reflects his support amongst youth.
    If effectively leveraged, this difference could be particularly valuable because of the network effects of social network activism. Of course, it’s not completely obvious how to take advantage of it, but expect to see some interesting attempts in the upcoming weeks …


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