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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

 
Oh those darned kids

by digby

This is sort of funny since I wrote a post just yesterday on this subject without this latest information:

Democrats have lost ground with millennials compared to past election cycles — a development that suggests the country’s youngest voters are open to both parties, according to a new Harvard Institute of Politics poll.

The nationwide poll of more than 2,000 adults ages 18 to 29, conducted Sept. 26 to Oct. 9, found significant political divisions across racial lines, no significant gender gap in the age group, and a slight Republican advantage among definite voters going into the 2014 midterm election.

“A lesson here, for us, is that young people, millennials, are no longer the political outliers that they once were,” said John Della Volpe, the Harvard Institute of Politics polling director, on a conference call with reporters. “In contrast to where we were four years ago, the youth vote is very much up for grabs politically.”

The 2014 poll shows that 51 percent of millennials considered most likely to vote would rather see a Republican Congress — 4 points higher than those who prefer Democrats. That’s a 16-point jump from 2010, when that group preferred Democrats by 12 percent.

These are midterm voters so it doesn't represent the whole electorate. But it's interesting nonetheless.

The point of my post yesterday is that you have to look at who they voted for when they came of age and it's not always as obvious as people think. The conclusion of that piece quoted an expert saying this:

New college students are liberal – just not as liberal as freshmen were four years ago. This new class is about as liberal as young people were early in the Carter and Clinton administrations. People who turned 18 during the Carter administration ended up being somewhat more Republican than average; those who came of age during Clinton's were somewhat more Democratic. How today's college freshmen will vote likely depends on the state of the economy over the next four years.

Are the new college freshmen just a blip in a sea of student liberalism?

The polling says "probably not". Before the election, American University/GfK polled high school (13-17 year-olds) and college students. The margin between Obama and Mitt Romney for high school students was 21pt less than among all college students. (Note: there's no discernible difference between the voting patterns of 18-29 year-olds with at least some college education and those without.)

The huge fall isn't exactly surprising. The Roosevelt generation is liberal because people became politically aware when Roosevelt was viewed as a success. The Gipper generation is conservative for the same reason with regard to Reagan. Conversely, the younger Bush is mostly viewed as a failure, and as such, most young people revolted.

Obama's presidency, meanwhile, is only seen as a moderate success – as illustrated by a rather close re-election margin in the popular vote. Given past history, it's expected to be seen as somewhere between good and average, as far as presidencies go. We would expect, therefore, that people who come of age during this presidency to be about as Democratic as the nation, or slightly more so.

And that's exactly what seems to be happening.

Indeed, the generation of the next few years isn't likely to be either conservative or overwhelmingly liberal; it's probably going to be moderate. The UCLA survey found that the fastest growing group are people who describe themselves as "middle of the road". On social issues, like gay marriage, they lean lean to left; on fiscal issues, like healthcare, they lean more to the right than the majority of current 18-29 year-olds.

Overall, I doubt we're looking at a pipeline of new liberals. Far more than most young voters today, the next generation is likely to be up for grabs.

The hints of this have been out there for a while. The Democrats would be very foolish to take this generation for granted. They seem to think they have them all sewn up but they don't.

.