Chris Bowers has an Open Left post that taps exit poll data to reveal the influence of the youth vote, or rather the lack of it, in the NJ and VA gubernatorial election outcomes. Bowers presents charts depicting a significant decline in the percentage of voters 18-29 and 29-44 for both states, and explains:
About two-thirds of Christie’s victory margin can be accounted for by this shift in the age of the electorate. While Deeds still would have been wiped out even with the 2008 age composition of the electorate, the change there is no less striking:..In Virginia, Democrats went from a 39-33 advantage in party ID, to a 33-37 deficit. In New Jersey, Democrats went from a 44-28 advantage, to a 41-31 advantage.
Bowers concludes “Republicans seem to have gained another 3-4%, simply from turnout differential based on age,” and adds “…the lack turnout among voters under the age of 45 threatens to cost Democrats more votes than any other factor.” It’s understandable, says Bowers, because “…younger voters have been hit hardest by the recession, and that they tend to not turnout in off-year elections.”
Bowers is skeptical that the Blue Dogs and beltway insider Dems will address the age gap. Let’s hope our mid-term candidates are paying more attention.