The youths dig in for Hopenchange 2.0

posted at 4:01 pm on November 7, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

I must admit, I thought that disenchantment with the shoddy results of President Obama’s first term, combined with the diminished spirit of Hopenchange, would mean we’d see some significant shift from the record-breaking decisiveness of the youth vote that was the 2008 election. I would’ve thought that living on their parents’ couches might’ve compelled them to get off the couch for a new candidate, or at least not get off the couch at all, but it looks like small-potatoes and social issues, economic malpractice, and some well-orchestrated pandering really do go a long way with America’s young people, and the strength of the demographic is here to stay. Via Politico:

Obama easily won the youth vote nationally, 67 percent to 30 percent, with young voters proving the decisive difference in Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, according to an analysis by the Center for Research and Information on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University. Obama won at least 61 percent of the youth vote in four of those states, and if Romney had achieved a 50-50 split, he could have flipped those states to his column, the study said.

About half of all eligible people ages 18 to 29 voted in Tuesday’s election, roughly the same level as 2008, according to Peter Levine, the center’s director. The youth vote’s share of the electorate actually increased slightly from 18 percent to 19 percent. In total, 22 million to 23 million young people voted, according to the analysis.

As I tweeted last night, the reality of young people’s economic situation means that they definitely have a Hopenchange hangover (a lingering youth unemployment rate double the national average, hem hem), whether they realize it or not — but I guess they thought a little hair-of-the-dog would do the trick. Let’s see how the works out for us, guys.

The GOP is going to be doing a lot of reevaluating in the near future, and as we all think about demographic trends and how to widen the tent, we cannot ignore reaching out to and communicating with young voters. President Obama has spent a lot of time on college campuses, making himself personable and talking convincingly about delivering easier student loan and tuition rates; if we had done a little more of that type of outreach on our terms, things might’ve gone very differently.


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