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Friday, March 30, 2012

Young Voters and Obama

Previous posts have looked at the youth vote.  At National Journal, Charlie Cook writes that the president cannot necessarily count on the kind of youth passion he generated in 2008:
Visit any college campus today, and you are likely to sense a lack of passion and energy for Obama. It’s far from clear that he can reproduce the unusually strong turnout among younger voters that he sparked in 2008 or match the 66 percent performance level he achieved then. The data back up the doubts. Gallup tracking surveys in January and February recorded Obama’s job-approval rating at 52 percent and 54 percent, respectively, among 18-to-29-year-olds. The polling suggests he would win the majority of the youth vote, but not anything close to 66 percent. As with other key voter groups, Obama’s numbers with young Americans are better than they were last fall, when his approval ratings among that sector were typically in the mid-to-high 40s. The pattern is a common theme across so many voter groups: Obama is doing better, but his gains aren’t enough to put him close to 2008 levels.
Over the years I’ve found the Democracy Corps, a group started by Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg and the indescribable James Carville, to be a source of enormously valuable survey research and focus-group findings. ... Republicans have now formed their own version of the Democracy Corps with Resurgent Republic, headed by veteran Republican strategist Ed Gillespie and longtime pollster Whit Ayres. Resurgent Republic frequently has other pollsters conduct research projects as well. This week it released a polling memo from Gillespie and Ed Goeas, the lead partner in the Tarrance Group, one of the GOP’s top polling firms. The memo was based on focus groups with Generation Y voters (ages 23-30) in Raleigh, N.C., and Columbus, Ohio. Only independent voters in that age cohort who were undecided on the generic presidential ballot test were included in the focus groups. This limited participation in the group to the true fence-sitters, as opposed to those whose votes in the fall are pretty predictable.
According to the memo from Goeas and Gillespie, “If these groups are representative of this demographic at large, it will be a tall task to counter the disillusionment many feel due to a pattern of overpromising and underdelivering.” They continued, “It is important to note that young voters’ ongoing frustration does not mean they will outright abandon Obama, as was evident in the Ohio groups, but it should call into question their reliability to turn out for him this November, barring any changes.”