T Nation

Changes in Youth Vote and Turnout?


A very large proportion of recent university graduates have soured on President Barack Obama, and many will vote GOP or stay at home in the 2012 election, according to two new surveys of younger voters.

â??These rock-solid Obama constituents are free-agents,â?? said Kellyanne Conway, president of The Polling Company, based in Washington, D.C. She recently completed a large survey of college grads, and â??theyâ??re shopping around, considering their options, [and] a fair number will say at home and sit it out,â?? she said.

The scope of this disengagement from Obama is suggested by an informal survey of 500 post-grads by Joe Maddalone, founder of Maddalone Global Strategies. Of his sample, 93 percent are aged between 22 and 28, 67 percent are male and 83 percent voted for Obama in 2008. But only 27 percent are committed to voting for Obama again, and 80 percent said they would consider voting for a Republican, said New York-based Maddalone.

Thatâ??s a drop of almost 60 points in support for Obama among this influential class of younger post-grad voters, who Maddalone recruited at conferences held at New York University and Thomson-Reutersâ?? New York headquarters.

This is a fairly small sample, but the number is staggering: only 27% are committed to voting for Obama again, and 80% said they would consider voting for a a Republican.

Young voters are notoriously unreliable, so it will be difficult or predict how the "youth vote" will behave between now and election time. With that said, much of "Hope and Change" was the turnout for what really was seen by young people as a cultural event more than an election. 2012 will be no such cultural event - just a plain, old-fashioned election - and young voters who have no jobs and mountains of debt appear to more than a little grumpy.

Do they stay at home? In any event, Obama - who is losing steam among adults in important swing states - can't afford for the young hipsters to sit this one out or switch teams.


Wow. Ok, I thought Obama couldn't lose reelection with this current crop of GoP contenders. However, this does suggest a serious vulnerability. Simply staying at home would problematic enough, much less a chunk of them voting for the other guy/gal this time.


I always think it's a good idea when people keep an open mind, and vote for the person rather than the party.

That said, I don't see any serious contenders yet on the republican side, although John Huntsman seems to be picking up steam.


Its early yet, but some interesting trends:

  1. Swing state weakness - watch Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida

  2. Youth disgust or ambivalence

  3. Endless ObamaCare waivers - apparently the AARP just got theirs

  4. Crabbiness on the Left that Obama is handling terrorism the same way Bush did

  5. Whoever Obama's challenger is gets to play whack-a-mole over the administration's singular non-focus on economic issues for a period of four years. People can tolerate a lack of results (Presidents don't have Nintendo controllers that moves the economy with complete control), but not a lack of attentiveness.

Also, Biden is more of a liability (not because he is awful, though he is gaffe-prone - I do't think he wants the job and is not prepared to carry water this time around), so I wouldn't be surprised to see a switch.


Before we get too excited about this information it's important to keep in mind that The single most vulnerable demographic in a Presidential election is the 18-25 year old voting block. The only candidate to bring this group out to any large degree (since George McGovern did it in his losing effort vs Richard Nixon back in 1972) has been Barrack Obama.

And keep in mind that they have not yet "worked" this demographic. True this early news is not good for the Obama camp. But I suspect once they fire up the "cool" slogans and the rest of the jargon that this group relates to the majority of them that vote will once again vote for Obama. But I'm sure it won't be to the same degree that they did in 2008. And yes this could cost him the election if the republicans can field a good candidate.

A few parting thoughts:

  • The 18-25 age group is the least likely to show up at the polls. And this has been true for many election cycles. (Odd because it seems like they have the most to say ha)

  • They rarely vote republican at the national level as they see themselves as being more liberal and look at the GOP as their parents party. (Liberal Collge Professor influence? That could be part of it)

  • The GOP wins when the 18-25 group stays home. And since only 60% of this group are registered and only about 40% of those tend to vote it's not a stretch to see them staying home in droves, which is always a good thing.


Very good thought TB, in fact I bet that Obama dumps Biden for Hillary. In fact, I wonder if that deal was not made prior to her taking the Secretary of State position. Remember Biden talking about Hillary being the better choice? I thought that odd when I heard it.


I think this is all Republican Propaganda , If they put him up against Bob Dole or John McCain , I do not care if Obama has %2 approval rating he will win, you guys are grinding up nonsense.

Obama can not lose until he has a candidate


I agree, no one strong has emerged to challenge him.


I like that people are keeping an open mind. No one should ever choose a candidate until after the debates anyway, in my opinion.

I'd rather have someone smart/responsible from a different party than a jackass from my own.

That said, the current field of GOP candidates is not exactly looking great.


This is very significant.


how can being PA. be significant when he does not have an opponent ?

It would be like Ali losing to NO ONE ?


Now if only the GOP had a candidate running that had a very strong youth following.


It appears some either do not pay attention or have short memories. In the time I've been following politics there's one thing I've learned for sure. 15 minutes is an eternity in this country. A deadly campaign can be launched in a matter of a couple months with a totally unknown spoiler. I think Obama himself should have taught us that. Of course the current GOP leadership has a gold medal knack for jaw dropping political stupidity so even if bam bam were caught red handed wiring bombs to the Washington monument they could still find a way to put him back in office.


Haha :slight_smile:


OR some one that thinks that the only way to fix our budgetary problems requires a true conservative
thought , not just cut social programs


Yes, wouldn't that be a wonder?


That will never happen the college's take care of that.


Sarah Palin will be our next President as long as she doesn't do any interviews with the "GOTCHA" media.


Ya know I find this funny about politics in general, people expect things to happen at a break-neck pace but most "smart"(idk what word to use here) people know it takes time to implement changes or reform to government(thats just its nature, we all know that) yet they still vote the for the other guy who says he will do it FASTER then the guy in office but in reality it will take the same amount of time.

It baffles me that people would vote for the other candidate based on that fact alone, which ALOT of people do.


Don't laugh , Our Governor does not do interviews , she just walks away from the media