The Straight-Ticket Youth Vote

As a sidenote to Obama's 66-32 blowout among 18-29 voters, check out how these same voters voted for the House. Not much different: 63-34.

So, in casting an identity politics vote for Barack Obama, a hip young (by political standards) African American, young voters were also apt to vote straight ticket for the Democrats down ballot. Nor is this new: the 2004 Democratic margin in the House among these voters mirrored the Kerry vote (+11 for Democrats vs. +9 for Kerry).

People have been focusing on whether the youth vote was up. It was -- slightly: going from 17 to 18 percent. But the real story about the youth vote is not how many "new" voters Obama got to show up. It's how he produced a gargantuan 25% swing among existing young voters, or those who were sure to vote for the first time anyway.

How big?

18 percent times a 25 percent increase in the Democratic margin equals 4.5 points, or a majority of Obama's popular vote margin. Had the Democratic 18-29 vote stayed the same as 2004's already impressive percentage, Obama would have won by about 2 points, and would not have won 73 electoral votes from Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, or Indiana.

So, to clarify here: Obama's youth margin = 73 electoral votes. Without the economic crisis, this would have been the difference.

In the House, the youth margin for Democratic candidates was up 18 points from 2004 and 7 points from 2006 (with a 50% increase in the voter pool from '06). The 18-29 demographic's net contribution to Democratic margins in the House went from 12% x 22% = 2.64% in 2006, to 18% x 29% = 5.22% in 2008. How many of our guys lost by 2.6% or less? And it wasn't about "more" or "new" young voters. For the most part it was the same young voters, who were conditioned to vote for Democratic candidates after switching to Obama.

Related to this are African Americans. Here too, turnout was up a point from 12% to 13%, or Census + 1. But that's only part of the story. The biggest part is Obama's increased margins, moving from 88-11 in '04 to 95-4 in '08. The black vote's net contribution to Democrats moved from 9.7 points to 11.8 points (91% x 13%), or an increase of 2.1 points.

Now, let's be generous and shave 10% off the youth effect assuming some of these youths are African American, but also tempered by the fact that the young black vote is already so highly Democratic that a 25% swing is impossible here. 4.1 percent (18-29) + 2.1 percent (AA's) equals 6.2 percent. Obama's current popular vote margin is 6.1 percent.

Obama's entire popular vote majority is accounted for by his increased appeal to youth and African Americans.

This is not to say that a white male (or female) Democratic candidate would not have won the election. The youth and African American figures would have moved some, though not as strongly for them, and if it was Hillary, you'd have seen a similar phenomenon with women voters. So, simply transposing 2004 figures onto 2008 isn't the right baseline. But this is a dramatic statement nonetheless. Obama has reshaped the electorate. And it's been only partially through new voter registration. He has gobbled up every last, existing young voter and African American (FTW, I get the distinct sense that Condi Rice too voted for Obama).

For more in uplifting news, don't miss Greg Mankiw.

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Time to face the music

If a clear strategy for the GOP to regain it's soul and the trust of the majority of American voters remains elusive, then the strategy for the GOP to make significant cuts into the (growing) Democratic majority among America's voting youth is downright non-existent

Clearly, as you demonstrate, the youth vote is highly significant - and kudos to you for being one of the few to give credit where credit is due.  But honestly, the GOP has totally written off any serious attempt to regain teh youth vote and lets be real here....when the GOP does get around to trying to appeal to young Americans again it is going to be the most embarassing hackneyed MTV-esque attempt you can think of.  And it will only push more wary youth to the Left.

Please enlighten me.  What is the Right's strategy here?

For the record: I am 23 and I voted yesterday.

find some intelligent buckleys

it's truly not hard. Did you see Zgniew on the Daily Show? You may not agree with him, but you can respect what he has to say.

Also, some people with enough of a sense of humor to do "better know a district" would be nice.

GOP strategy?

I think the GOP just needs to get back to it's roots as the party of small government fiscal conservatism. Unless you can somehow prove to me that younger voters have suddenly become dramatically more liberal than they before I think that's essentially how you get the younger voters back. Adopting a more libertarian platform regarding social issues might be a step in the correct direction as well, but it risks driving away social conservaives. I think that the GOP just needs to be more low key on social issues.

I don't believe younger voters have dramatically different ideas about how they want their lives to be than most people do.  I think they want a  small limited government , low taxes, free trade, and strong national defense. Those are all things that the Democratic Party does not believe in.  I think this election is somewhat of an aberration and I don't think we need to read that much into it except to say that we need to nominate true conservatives in the future, and practice what we preach.



i think you dramatically misread the electorat

you should see the most recent pew surveys. big government has always been a winning strategy. even some conservatives love it.

Which means...

If in fact big government is a winner, then the real difference comes in saying what you're going to spend money on.

On that score, if you compared Obama and McCain, Obama's plans for big government appealed far more to people than McCain's plans for big government.

America is a rather left of center nation

but they're also a rather practical nation that doesn't go screaming about ideology.

They see a problem, many problems, and they want the solutions people have. Then they decide based on that.

They also decide based on character -- because there are a lot of choices that you don't get to make during a campaign.

Obama was the rock. McCain was the volcano.

Get Real EyeDoc

The Democratic Party doesn't believe in strong national defense?  Did you even read what you wrote?  It's those kinds of statements that come off as naive and confrontational - exactly the kind of anti-genuine political discourse that turns young voters off.

As for low taxes, this seems to suggest that young voters want to contribute to their country as little as possible.  The turh is that repeated stuied show that Generation Y (the current youth voters) have volunteered more time than any previous generation.  They don't mind paying taxes if it means the money is being spent to better the nation.  Conservatives don't need to fight for lower taxes, they need to fight for sensible conservative fiscal policy.  That means raising taxes when necessary to fund the necessary apparatus of government (for example tax cuts during a time of war is ridiculous, and the reason we have double the national debt).

Free trade?  Wrong again - the proportion of people of color among the youth is much much higher.  Many are first generation American citizens with deep roots in the countries that are inevitably exploited by "free trade".  A policy of fair trade and promoting American ideals of freedom and democracy in those foreign nations would be both a conservative and a wise strategy for bringing the youth vote back to the Right.

Small government?  Which party is it exactly that supports small government?  I know the Republicans were in charge for quite some time and they certainly were not that party.

You have completely left out cultural issues.  Take a look at the exit polls on prop 8 in California.  Voters 65 and older voted to eliminate gay marriage 61-39, while youth voters wanted to keep it by a margin of 61-39.  The Repubicans are stuck in a generational dilemma.  If you drop cultural issues you will regain some of the youth vote.  Of course that will cut loose a significant portion of the base.  If you know how to gain back onea nd keep the other than you are a wiser individual than I.


Obviously youth voters DO think dramatically differently - and this is represented in teh stark contrast in the Democratic margin of victory among my generation.  Get Real.

This is very troubling for Reps

McCain sounded old and looked ancient. His capaign was hackneyed and rahashed slogans the have been used for 40 years.

All these people captured by the dems in this election are going to stick around for some time. I really believe that unless Reps (or conservatives . . . I wish Libertarians were more represented than what we are) do some real soul searching and make a hard break, there will be a 12+ run on the white house.

Some charateristics to think about are that demographic. Well, there's two distinct ones and we have to address as so. For the younger generation, they are more urban and are more likely to question and aggrogate information.  Take from that, if it ain't working, move on. Reps kept trying to shove issues down people throats. In a net-centric world, you can't force people. It's too easy to go to another channel, another website. New is more valuable than repeated. It's hard to control the message. You have to control it's appeal. Rep dejection of the MSM is tragic. Nat Review and other sites are only talking to the faithful, same with Fox.

As for African americans, the republican party has decimated it's credibility in that population with the war on crime. Yes, it sounds good to be a tough nut and do the 'throw them in jail' speech. But for African americans, the law have always been against them. Don't necessarily help with a hand out, but Reps have completely ignored social justice. Crime has been bigger in that population because of generations of poverty and injustice. Stand for the rule of law, but understand to have a respect for the law, the law has to respect you.

One issue that has bound both of these groups is Wright and Ayers. Why didn't that work for the Rep party? This is a short pithy answer, but for African americans (OK, I'm a white guy and am out of my neighborhood a bit), but Africans have been mad. And for damn good reason. The Wright thing was ugly, but it is born from downright dispicable circumstances that blacks have had to endure for centuries. I think Wright is wrong, but people cut him slack, because they understood. And Obama got many . . . many people on board his ship because of his race speech. It wasnt' just rhetoric . . . he understood. As for the youth vote, I said they were urban. Why are dems more urban and reps more rural? When you live in a big city, you have to contend with population density, and mobility. Basically, you can't care that much about your neighbors differences. You probably share a wall with him, and the importance is on tolarance rather than conformitty. It a small town, there's not that many people, you keep your differences at home. It the city, you can't. That, and people just can leave, and do. In the city, you meet more people, you know more people. Ayers, to an urbanite, was just a guy in the neighborhood that Obama would have had to work with if he wanted to do what he wanted to do. They didn't agree with Ayers, but it never went beyond an association in their minds.

That's my ten-cents. I would love to hear from some African americans on this blog if there are any left coming to the right. I doubt it now thought. Reps have just now isolated that group for another 20 years. Ther's the occasional person, but as a group, good-bye to 17 percent of the population of the U.S. And it looks like hispanics have done a small flip as well. If Reps don't turn it around, there goes another 17 percent. Try to win an election with that deficit.

Wright was an angry black man

take his color away, and he sounds just like any other southern preacher (evangelicals sound like that, as he is an evangelical minister).

I don't think anyone agreed with Ayers, but it was only the xenophobic who gave their votes to Mccain more than in 2004.

RisingTide, you're way too quick to stereotype

Wright was an angry black man take his color away, and he sounds just like any other southern preacher (evangelicals sound like that, as he is an evangelical minister).

Wow... what an inaccurate statement!

Not all (white) southern preachers sound like that.  Actually hardly any, and none that I've personally heard.  I'm sorry you think that...

Let me dive a little deeper here to gauge where you're coming from...

Do you think the evangelical Christian church has any relevance in society?

Do you think Wright's church is typical of evangelical Christian churches?

I'm sorry, perhaps we've been listening to different people

I did have a quote that said that if you listened to any preacher from North Carolina, he would sound like Wright (hellfire and brimstone, lotta shoutin' etc. not particularly the specific words Wright used. figure not many people bother to quote the former Iraqi ambassador, teehee).

I do believe, based on my discussions over at StreetProphets, that Wrights' church is typical of the christian evangelical movement. I'm not sure what metric i'm supposed to use to say whether evangelism is 'relevant' -- it's certainly not keeping more people Christian, but I wouldn't dare use that anyhow! ;-) Is it a good thing to have people getting together and praying? I figure Rev. Wright's church's example makes it an unequivocal yes.

(I take issue with the church that has the statue of liberty with a cross in hand. that's just offensive, man. but I'm not sure they know it's offensive)

No sir, they are indicative of the "evangelical" fringe

Yes there are some zealots on both the Christian left and right but they hardly represent the mainstream of Christianity.  The mainstream believes you appeal to people with a positive message, the fringe believes you play God and condemn people as "going to hell" in order to scare them to Jesus.

evangelism is not zealotry

it is a movement that reminds me of the Chassidim. More about celebration, and less about thinking. Don't know if you with grok.

Rev. Wright's church seemed pretty happy, and I'm sure that most evangelicals are pretty happy.

Rev. Wright certainly appealed to many with a positive message, if you do not understand that, perhaps you ought to contact some of his fellow marchers. He marched with Rev. King.

Well I guess,

If you consider blaming "whitey" for all the problems of inner-city blacks, proclaiming America is the US of KKK-A, and that there is a racist conspiracy to keep blacks "in there place" a positive message. 

But as for me when I look at Rev "God Damn America" Wright I just see a black racist who is just using christianity to sell his message.  In other words he is simply the flip side of the Aryan Nations church.

You've never sat in his church!

You've never read one fucking book on racism in america. Check out some of Dr. Bonilla-Silva's, they're awesome.

Like many African Americans, he pulled people up by their bootstraps and was an inspiration.

you show him disrespect, and I feel badly for YOU, not HIM.

I wouldn't want to sit in his church.

Not with his racially divisive and anti-American rhetoric, so yes I won't respect that man regardless of any of his other accomplishments.

Alrighty then

It's funny you mentioned NC...  I am in North Carolina, and I do attend an evangelical church.

that Wrights' church is typical of the christian evangelical movement.

Coming from StreetProphets / Kos, your conclusion could be a logical one.  But it would be a wrong conclusion.

Simply put, the Christian evangelical vision is to introduce people to Jesus Christ that haven't experienced Him.  I've heard it said this way "To know Jesus Christ and make Him known".  That's the typical Christian evangelical church summed up.  Protestant, Lutheran, Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, Non-denominational, etc, etc...  (sorry if I left any out, there are so many more).  They welcome ALL races, and go to ALL races. embraces Black Liberation Theology and focuses only on the black community.  Here's their website:

I'm not going to argue or come to any other conclusion than this: They are wholly different mission statements.  TUCC may indeed be a great church, doing good works in the community, but they are not at all a typical evangelical one.

The concern with Rev. Wright was his racist (anti-white) rhetoric.

I hope I've helped with the distinctions.

I'm not sure what metric i'm supposed to use to say whether evangelism is 'relevant'

I was just asking for your own opinion, and by your response, I realize you don't identify yourself as a Christian.  That's really what I wanted to know.

Being forgiven, given real hope, and having a friendship with God is life changing.  If you'd like to learn how to have that, I would be honored to share with you and help you to find a church to get plugged into - wherever you are.  If you don't want to, then that is your choice, and I'll respect it.

Humbly, Tim W.

My god is a clockmaker

yours is not, and I respect that.

Based on what pastordan of StreetProphets has said -- and it's his denomination (the uuc) not mine nor yours, Trinity is indeed an evangelical church -- that happens to belong to a white mainline denomination. Square that with it's a "black liberation" church. Sure, you live on the south side of chicago and try not to help your black neighbors. it's a black neighborhood!! I'm sure their prison ministry is rather uncaring about which race you are.

Byassee asserts that Trinity is well within the mainstream of the black church, and is remarkable in the mainline world only for its size and influence.

They've got their ministries to the Caribbean and to Africa.

Sorry, I think I went off on you, mistakenly. I've enjoyed writing this, so I'm going to post it anyhow, but yeah, I don't think most evangelical churches advocate for women clergymen, nor homosexual acceptance.

Rev. Wright was not and is not racist -- a racist man does not lead the standout church of a white denomination if he is black.

What if He comes back to clean your clock?? buh-duh, BANG!

Ok..RT, THAT was a joke! :-) You totally set me up!  Gotta love the humor! :-)

That's cool, I've had fun hijacking this thread too.

Back to the hijacked topic:  I didn't say it wasn't evangelical at all... I said it focused only on the Black community and that it wasn't a typical evangelical church.  I was basing my statements from their "About Us" page (and other links I provided):

We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian.... We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a Black worship service and ministries which address the Black Community.

You're correct, it's not my denomination.  Your point about it's location is understood.

but yeah, I don't think most evangelical churches advocate for women clergymen, nor homosexual acceptance

Probably some big topics for me to handle in just a few words... Uhm, the Bible basically says it's not good to continue to do the things that it says are not good to do.  Christians are supposed to live moral, upright lives as a way to show we're different, otherwise: 1) we're being hypocrites or 2) why bother?

BUT fulfilling rules or doing good deeds isn't the end of it or even the main purpose.  Knowing God is.  We (and God) accept the person just as they are, not the behavior.  Big difference.

The Bible also says men are better suited to be the leader (we're made differently and for a purpose), but it certainly does have examples of women leading when no man would.  So a hard and fast rule is debatable, and is (unfortunately in the media).

I'm disappointed many people (and even other Christians) have misrepresented the message and purpose of Christianity.

It has been fun,

Tim W.

Indeed we youth are more tolerant

anyone notice that sure gay marriage bans are passing, but not with the youth?


in cali the youth voted against it 2 to 1, and we youth continue to increase our portion of the electorate, now we are 18%, but I know 15 year olds who were excited and wanted to vote for Obama. guess what they do in 4 years.

4 years we can easily be 19% and still 2 to 1 Democratic.


Culture wars have worked in the past, but it turns off the youth. each election you do it, is a new generation of Democratic voters you create. and as we have seen now its starting to have an effect.


while we are a big tent. you party is now the party of Operation Leper.


the first step to deal with is your GOP Civil War.

The Youth Vote = Waste of Time...

...instead lets go after the 10-20 million (maybe more) "mature" voters who have become exasperated and simply dropped out of the process.   Why? Because of GOP politicians who've continually ignored, insulted and disrespected them.   Seems as if the GOP Hierarchy's favorite new pastime these days - dis the Base. 

This above mentioned group either Stayed at Home on election day or many protest voted for some 3rd party nut job.  And in some cases they reluctantly voted for the democrat.  Some wrote in a name.  There are more than enough in this block of voters to offset the youth vote or these stupid "undecideds" who had not made up their mind right up until 1 or 2 days before the election.  Darvin Dowdy


And that my friend is how you lose elections.


Because the McCain strategy of comndeming the base as "extremists" while trying to out-Democrat the Democrats really has been a winner.

Forget Those Votes

My daughter at Hopkins told me how the students were celebrating all over town (likewise at Harvard and Yale). I told her that if BHO uncaps FICA, raises my marginal tax rate and pushes up capital gains taxes, I may not be able to afford her 60K per year tuition and expenses.

That shut her right up.

But, face it: the youth and underprivileged will never ever vote with those realities on their plate --Forget them.

Republicans should concentrate on convincing the other forty million-or-so ADULTS -- who voted against the financial health and future of our nation --  that their lack of attention and dalliance with liberal playthings will eventually destroy our society as we know it.


Need I remind you that many of those you refer to as children, or at least not "adults" are the same Americans fighting and dying for your freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq.

You may not respect them as adults but they have maded a pretty mature decision to put the country before themselves, and many of them payed the ultimate sacrifice so you don't have to.  How many of our Iraq veteran, do you suppose, are under 30?  Your attitude is actually disgusting to me.

Fools and their money are easily separated...

The GOP solution is to stop being fools not to come up with a more creative ways of being fools.

1. Until Conservative parents start facing the music nothing is going to change. Your daughter voted for Obama or showed up home with Obama button? Terrific! Stop paying her bills immediately. Any bills, no matter what they are, school, dinner, credit cards should become her responsibility and her responsibility alone. Do it today. Cut her off. You would be amazed how quickly the "young voters" will stop their dabbling in socialism when their pocket books are hurting.

2. We should stop focusing on "converting" Americans over 50 (60?) to vote our way - it is a waste of resources. It is important to recognize that economic interests of that group are opposite to our economic interests and economic principals always win.

Today's youth vote... tomorrow's adult vote. And most of that "youth vote" will be the adult bloc in 8-12 years. Party identity can be very sticky.

Also consider that Obama's massive ground game and GOTV effort was built on the backs of the youth vote. To get elected, you need more than voters - you need people to knowck on doors, make phone calls, give people rides to polling places, and bring the vote home. It can be done with older voters, but for how long?

And more to the point, if you don't make an effort to appeal to today's college students, who's going to lead the party in ten years?


Matthew is right on the money.  Most Republicans my age grew up during the Reagan golden years and wouldn't dream of leaving their party.  That type of party identity is strong -- almost on par with religious conviction -- and can withstand even the worst of times for the party.  Get those kids on your side, get them excited about your message, and they will be GOP voters for life.

Youth Vote to Adult Vote

What I think people are missing is the fact the the youth don't know enough to base their decisions.  The majority of 18 - 25 haven't held a job long enough, invested money, had to deal with family health, deaths, etc.  After they have their growing pains some change their tune.

So, when we talk about today's youth voting the same way after 4 years or 8 years they know more about the issues.  I know because I am in that age group but am a political junkie so I feel that I didn't fall into the "dumb masses" of the youth vote.

I agree with going after the adult vote.  Be mature about the issues and give the citizens the solution to a problem and let them decide which answer is better.

Exactly, Aero.

I don't like the fact that the youth vote trended towards Obama. But young people grow older and change their opinions. Finally getting out to the work-force, paying taxes & saving for retirement transforms a lot of "progressives" into "fiscal conservatives".

Could we have some more context on the youth swing towards Obama? We're only talking about 2 elections. What were the numbers from '96-'00?

Why were young voters breaking towards Obama? Was it because he's multi-racial? Was it because of his proposed policies? Was it because of a more tech-savvy campaign? Was it because McCain looks so old?

DISCLAIMER-no disrespect towards McCain or the elderly intended.

I totatly agree!

I mean lets face it, the youth vote lack a lot of  real-world experience.  In the 16 years since I was 18, I have had to learn a lot of harsh lessons about how the world really works.  That is called life.

By they way, why all the brouhaha over the you vote in the first place?  This is supposedly the highest voter turnout election since 1968 (when 18 to 20-year olds weren't allowed to vote) and yet the 18-21 year old vote increased a measely 1%.

Don't Jump To Conclusions

The argument that they'll turn conservative later isn't much of a consolation. The fact is youth are more politically active than ever and my suspicion is that they are only going to become more so as the internet and savvy campaigns like Obama's actively court their participation.

Even if they turn conservative as they get older (and depending on what programs get instituted by the government I question that happening) what of the coming youth following them? Like I said, is there any reason to think they won't be as active if not more so than the current youth?

The GOP cannot continue to abandon the youth vote if it wants to stay relevant. But reaching out to it doesn't mean abandoning principles. It just means explaining our principles in ways they  understand and can relate to and perhaps re-examining conservative, limited government principles on things like the Drug War and immigration. Young people want freedom and I suspect a more pro-freedom stance on those two issues could win over a lot of young voters we're currently not getting.


Turn conservative...

"Turning conservative" is a relative thing.

Conservatives today aren't the same as conservatives from, say, 50 years ago.

I mean, where would you find today a conservative that would campaign to keep inter-racial marriages illegal?

Where would you find today a conservative trying to pass laws to prevent blacks from gaining equal voting rights and equal access to education?

Those were "conservative" issues from yester-year. You won't find any conservative politicians now supporting those things.

Conservative issues die off as society progresses forward. What it means to be conservative changes from one generation to the next, or one to the second down. Whatever... the things that define "conservative belief" change.

Used to be, after all, that "liberal" meant someone who stood for less federal government and more things determined by individual states. Does it mean that now?

So when considering youth becoming more "conservative" as they grow older, remember that's a relative thing. They will be conservative about those things they believe in NOW, as young people... they won't change their beliefs, they will simply fight against the push of future generations to make change, and those future generations will be the "liberals" of their day.

so in 20 years you want to be the

abortion and gay marriage party? ;-()

I think this is a really dangerous assumption

 And I think it's part and parcel of the problem.  Either you think people are adults, and have to respect the reasons they make their decisions, or you don't.  This attitude of  "well, you might be liberal now, but you're young and you don't really know anything" creates a lot of condescension, which is a turnoff to even older voters.  And besides, there are a lot of people who maintain their "youth" lifestyle (low income, little economic security, renting, etc) well into their 30s, and you risk alienating those people as well when you use that kind of rhetoric.


Look, I have a number of friends, all under 30, who voted against McCain (and volunteered for Obama) for reasons that I thought were completely sensible, even though I didn't agree withor share them.  They were concerned wtih reducing income inequality, they were concerned wtih median  income stagnation over the last 20 years, they were concerned about making health-care coverage affordable--all FORWARD LOOKING issues that would potentially come up as they became older.  No, they weren't concerned with taxes, but if you look at the fiscal disaster the "taxpayer revolt" (aka antitax rebellion) has created in states like CA, you can't blame them for not adopting the extremist view.  

I think that appearances are deceiving and fewer people bought Obama on hype alone than Republicans would like to think.  They use the examples of fawning youth we see in the media (screaming/crying/adoring) to say it's all hype, but have you been to a Palin rally? It's a similar dynamic.  

The problem is that partisan ID is sticky.  You know all those college republicans from the Bush and Reagan years?  They're one of the most reliable and dedicated republican blocks now (gen-xers); hell, even a lot of the boomers have held on to their activism over the years.  And this generation that volunteered for Obama has just had their first victory.  At least the boomers that volunteered for McGovern had disappointment early on, which helped them to consider new views.



Gen X went for Clinton!

It's interesting to consider why they went that way. But the fact is that young people have always been overwhelmingly left-leaning.

It would be more interesting & helpful to look at race. We probably never would have captured the black vote because of the historic nature of the Obama campaign. But Asians? They supported George HW Bush & Bob Dole. How did we lose that bloc?

Alright, I'm wrong.

Just googled to the CIRCLE data on the 18-29 vote from 1976-2008. If the following data is right, this is indeed a big deal:

My age group always leaned left. But not nearly so far as this did in this last election. Something is very, very wrong, here. We should not be losing the youth gap by that large a margin.


Interesting data, but I don't think it looks back far enough

Just looked at the CIRCLE data and found it quite illuminating regarding this issue.  However, I don't think the data look back far enough to give us the answer.  From the data, in the elections from 1976 to 2000, the under-30 Democratic share of the vote averages 46.6%, and closely tracks (though not exactly) that of the total popular vote.  Then in 2004, and to an even greater extent in 2008, the under-30 Democratic percentage climbs to 54% and then to an astounding 66%, and varies considerably from that of the overall popular vote.

Hmm, let's see, what 's different about the elections of 2004 and 2008 than from the elections of 1976 to 2000?  Could it be that we're at war??  The necessary data aren't in the CIRCLE data, but I suspect that if the under-30 vote (even without the 18-20 year olds before the voting age was lowered) of the 1968 and 1972 elections were available, it would show a similar increase among under-30 Democratic support.  The fact that Obama got 66% of this group is not surprising -- that John Kerry got only 54% is.  I suspect that one of the main reasons for the greater support for Obama is the technology/social networking factor as discussed in the parent article above.  After all, when this age group will text each other while they're sitting around the same table, like my college-age niece does......

I went to a couple of Republican events in the early part of the primary season and saw this supposed "groundswell" of support for Ron Paul.  Almost every one of his very vocal supporters at these events looked like they had just graduated from high school.  And the main reason for their support of Paul was his anti-war stance.  I doubt that but a tiny few of them understood or could have explained Paul's staunchly Libertarian stance that everyhing that was wrong had to do with faulty monetary policy.  Ron Paul dominated every online or text messaging poll, because this group was ravenous and that age group is VERY tech savvy.  So when Paul became a footnote in the campaign, these nearly-single-issue but Republican voters had nowhere to go but to the Democratic anti-war candidate.

Getting back to the technology issue:  This group gets most of its information from the Web and from the texts/IMs from their friends.  If (as what appears happened) the Republican Party had no advertising in those venues that was tailored to them (mass media appeals don't work so well with this group), is it any wonder they listened and accepted his message?  It was the only one they heard.  This certainly needs to be rectified by 2012.

The war is a factor

Still think there's probably something else at work. There is no draft. So most in my generation (born 1980 & later) will never be directly affected by the war. And there's not much we can do about Iraq at this point. The candidates were only arguing about the terms of withdrawl. Exit polling suggests that the war wasn't a huge issue And how would the war affect attitudes about gay marriage?

Have been thinking about this a lot. Let me offer another perspective. In 2004, fresh out of college, I had 2 choices on housing:

#1-Become a renter.

#2-Take out a mortgage that I couldn't really afford.

I'm responsible, so I rented. No one is entitled to become a homeowner at 23. So you work hard & save. But housing prices were unaffordable & only getting worse. It seemed that homeownership would be perpetually out of reach.

Health care? Price of gas? Price of food? Student loans? Taxes? Peanuts compared to the price of housing.

Late in 2006, there were reasons for hope. The housing market was showing signs of weakness. It was a bubble, afterall. The bubble was about to pop. Prices would finally come down. Hallelujah! Naturally this would be a painful process. But it's something that needed to happen. My mother’s 2-room shack in a CA ghetto was not worth $500k.

Now consider McCain's response to the stock market crisis. His top priority was getting house prices up. Understandable that people would be nervous about losing the artificial wealth in their houses. Take away that cushion & people become erratic about their investments. So if we get house prices up, we can save the stock market.

Except continually rising house prices would have devastating consequences for my generation. Truth is my generation doesn't really care about the sanctity of the family. Too many of us haven't had the means to buy a house & start a family. I supported prop 8. But most in my generation didn’t really care about it. Can you blame them?

I'm not a populist. This isn't about class-envy. I don't want the government to step in & buy a house for me. I just want the government to stay out of the way when the market fixes itself. As much as I respect McCain, I was turned off by his proposals to “fix” the housing market.

This election was about

This election was about identity politics on the part of the young and minorities. Obama's a once-in-a-lifetime candidate. I think its short-sighted to extrapolate what happened in this election to future elections. If partisan ID is so sticky, then how come the huge swing in the youth vote from 2004 to now? Obama won because of turnout and the overwhelming support of the young and minorities (and because older whites voted in more or less their same patterns). Why? Because of what Obama represents. A young, black, son of an immigrant President represents: A rejection of the Bush years; A rejection of the Clinton years; A validation of where this country has been, where it is now and where it is going, racially and culturally; A respite from the politics and divisiveness of the older generations; This election wasn't about "the issues" as traditionally understood. But they'll be back next time.

The "identity politics" vote

I'd be very very careful about that assumption. In many ways the rush to Obama reads as a rejection of the identity politics that the Democratic party has played from the 70s and 80s on. Millenials have grown up in a far more integrated society, and their conversations around race and gender and sexuality differ profoundly from a public discourse that has until now been owned by, and subject to the assumptions of, people who came of age during the Civil Rights era.

To look at this as a simple matter of "identity politics" is to get it precisely wrong in a way that is likely to lead down a losing path. Worth noting that it's not just Millenials/Gen Y but Gen X as well. Effectively, everyone under 40 went for Obama, and that includes a lot of people with families and responsibilities.

Without real engagement, it's highly unlikely that any alchemy of time will simply transform these voters into conservatives. Or rather, it will, but the values they will hold to in the face of future change are different from those of today's GOP. A viable conservative renaissance is going to have to meet them where they live, engage with their concerns, and show them that it can deliver. Just putting some balloons up around the current platform (and current leadership) and waiting for them to show up is going to be just as lonely as it sounds.

It's worth noting here that while social-conservative measures succeeded at the state level in this cycle, they failed overwhelmingly among under-40s. Those populations aren't suddenly going to wake up on their 41st birthdays less accepting of e.g. gay marriage, and a winning message will need to point the way out of an outdated values politics that means as little to them as the left's old politics of identity.

Realignment is about party ID, not just vote choice

I really want full-fledged cross tabs of the exit polls so I can see what party ID is like among young voters compared to 2004.   They have shifted their vote choice to more dramatically favor Dem candidates, but my bigger question is - are they actually calling themselves Democrats in larger numbers than before?

That's the far more troublesome scenario.  Partisanship is pretty "sticky" as someone said above.  And voting behavior is driven by inertia - full blown academic studies have shown that once a voter takes that first step from being a non-voter to being a voter, they are less likely slide back into non-voting behavior.   

There are serious, potentially permanent long term effects from a youth vote that is not just voting for Democrats this time around but are actually considering themselves to be Democrats.

dem registration has been way up this year

talk to nate silver if you've got any questions.

Short Term versus Long Term

First off, studies do not show that people grow more conservative as they get older. In general, after the first couple of elections, most people tend to solidify what party they belong to and stick with it. Not that there aren't defections, but they're the exception rather than the norm. The bad news for Republicans is that Obama is very likely to lock down a solid majority of the Millenial generation as Democrats.

And the situation is even worse. The hispanic vote is one of if not the most rapidly growing demographic in this country, and thanks to the anti-immigration faction of the Republican Party, the GOP has lost all headway they were making under Bush and these days they're solidly Democrat and will be as long as they see the Republican Party as racist. Those YouTube videos of people calling Obama an Arab aren't exactly helping the GOP with other non-white factions. There are projects about when, not if, Texas will turn blue.

The Democratic Party fought a civil war inside of their own party during the civil rights era. Short term, it cost them the White House for most of a political cycle as the Dixiecrats defected to the Republican Party. On the other hand, given those long term demographics, it was more like they dropped a ticking time bomb or an anchor set to go off down the road. The Republicans looking at their own future should look at what the Democrats did about the issue of racism in the party.

The youth vote to really worry about

Starting on October 26, I desperately tried to push the story about Obama wanting to indoctrinate pre-teens. A section on his site describes his outreach to children 12 and under. He wanted them to draw pictures of him, write letters for him, and then get their parents to vote for him.

All incredibly sleazy and creepy, but aside from a couple other blogs no one was interested in pushing it. I even posted it to this site, and no one picked up on it.

Now that he's president, expect even more textbooks to feature his hagiography. Expect teachers who are members of a union now basically controlled by BHO to spread his message to their charges. And, expect support for BHO and the Dems to be inculcated into a new generation.

One other thing you can expect: low-wattage major bloggers will just continue to ignore this.

P.S. Regarding the supposed negation of identity politics, another section of Obama's site was just for white people. Or, at least some white people. Certain others need not apply.

You ever seen Jesus Camp?

guess it's only fucking creepy if it's the OTHER side.

You ever seen this page?

Thank you for your reasoned response. I tend to avoid movies so I haven't seen that, but I do suggest you read this page.

This is a major, major story

The best way to get people to pick up on this would definitely be to run around the internets waving your arms a lot.

Once Gen Y and Gen X voters get wind of this, they'll surely switch allegiance to today's GOP in droves.

Need more info

There are two issues in my first comment above; which are you snarking about? You might want to review my 10/26 post on this site where I described how to bring the first item in my comment to wider attention. I also contacted a couple people at the Corner and suggested the same.

And, if a centrist education expert who's a better writer had written this up on a widely-visited site, it would probably have been linked by Drudge, gotten a lot of attention, and played a part in the election. Is there anything about that you dispute?

As for the last link in my first comment above, it's not as salient to others as the first item, which is why I included it in a sidenote. However, someone who's a good explainer - not a food-thrower - could have gone on various TV shows and explained why it was wrong and why it undercut BHO's claims to be "post-racial candidate".

If there's something about all of the above you disagree with, please provide more information, not just snark.

Okay, sure

The notion that there's anything underhanded, let alone sleazy, about having a page on his site for kids is exactly the kind of loopy, paranoid echo-chamber fantasy that got us here.

Does the fact that no one at The Corner picked this up tell you nothing? Really? The ghost of John Dewey could have posted it on the front page of USA Today and no one would have noticed.

I'm sorry your shocking discovery didn't turn around the election and make you an internet superstar, but I'm grateful for the brief window into an underground economy based entirely on the production and exchange of opportunities for daffy handwringing.

Anything rather than take a long, hard look at where we are or how we got here I guess. Or think about what we can do to help the next generation understand the value of modest governance and free enterprise.