This Is What Happens

February 26th, 2010at 07:21am Posted by Eli

When you don’t deliver on your campaign promises.  Or actively work to sabotage them.

A year after supporting Barack Obama for president by an overwhelming 2-to-1 ratio, young adults are cooling quickly toward his Democrats amid dissatisfaction over the lack of change in Washington and an escalating war in Afghanistan.

A study by the Pew Research Center, being released Wednesday, highlights the eroding support from 18- to 29-year- olds whose strong turnout in November 2008 was read by some demographers as the start of a new Democratic movement.

The findings are significant because they offer further proof that the diverse coalition of voters Obama cobbled together in 2008 — including high numbers of first-timers, young minorities and youths — are not Democratic Party voters who can necessarily be counted on.

While young adults remain decidedly more liberal, the survey found the Democratic advantage among 18- to 29-year-olds has substantially narrowed, from a record 62 percent identifying as Democrat vs. 30 percent for the Republicans in 2008, down to 54 percent vs. 40 percent last December. It was the largest percentage point jump in those who identified or leaned Republican among all the voting age groups.

Young adults’ voting enthusiasm also crumbled.

During the presidential election, turnout among 18- to 29-year-olds was the highest in years, comprising roughly 20 percent of the voters in many states including Virginia and New Jersey, due in part to high participation from young blacks and Hispanics.

That percentage, however, dropped by half for the governors’ races in those states last November, where Republicans celebrated wins as black groups pushed Obama to do more to soften the economic blow from mortgage foreclosures and Latinos saw little progress on immigration reform. Young adults also were the least likely of any age group to identify themselves as regular voters.

They could have been “the start of a new Democratic movement”, but Obama chose to turn his back on them the second his election was secure.  Apparently he either thinks he can win without them, that he can turn on the charm and the uplifting hopey talk when he needs it, or that they’ll just have to vote for him because the alternative is so much worse.  Personally, I wouldn’t bet my presidency on any of those outcomes.  Maybe he thinks grateful PhRMA and Wall Street dollars will be enough to buy the 2012 election, but I kinda doubt that too.

And it won’t be just the youth vote Obama will be losing; he’s going to lose a big chunk of the Democratic base too.  Contempt and betrayal are not really great drivers for turnout.

Entry Filed under: Economy,Healthcare,Obama,Politics,Polls

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