YouGov poll: Heavy majority opposes Obama's idea of mandatory voting

That’s two polls in two days where opposition to one of President Overreach’s schemes is north of 60 percent. Two weeks ago, he told an audience in Cleveland that the surest way to counteract big money in politics is to require voting by law. That’s sort of true insofar as registered voters traditionally lean Democratic and will probably lean more so in the decades ahead as some older white voters are replaced by younger minority ones. If you force all registered voters to vote, you’re all but assuring Democratic victories. That’s Obama’s real agenda, wrapped in the crowd-pleasing bow of neutralizing the evil rich’s influence over elections.

And that’s what makes the result here sort of surprising. Why would Democrats oppose a mandate that would guarantee a Democratic stranglehold on government, at least in the near term? And yet they do, albeit very narrowly. Top line here shows the number who “strongly favor” mandatory voting, then “somewhat favor,” “somewhat oppose,” “strongly oppose,” and “not sure.”


There’s room to grow on this question for Democrats but indies are almost as strongly opposed as Republicans are. It’ll be a long time before this is a 50/50 issue among the broader public.

Or will it? The question YouGov asked respondents didn’t mention that Obama supports mandatory voting, which may be significant. If you’re a Democrat who likes O but is otherwise agnostic or mildly opposed to making voting compulsory, knowing that the Lightbringer backs it might turn you into a fan for purely partisan reasons. (Democratic support for gay marriage increased after Obama endorsed it three years ago, especially among minorities.) It may also be that low-information voters on the left and right don’t know enough about the make-up of the electorate to realize that mandatory voting would give Democrats a strong, possibly insurmountable advantage in national elections over the next decade or two. How many Dems who opposed mandatory voting when asked by YouGov would have flipped if told that it would leave them in control of the White House until, say, 2032?

Makes me wonder how much these numbers would move, and how quickly, if the left put real effort into shaping opinion instead of leaving it to Obama to float the idea in passing at some random Q&A in year seven of his presidency. Two of the Democrats’ core constituencies, blacks and Latinos, are already notably more open to mandatory voting than white voters are; that could propel this issue towards the top of the party’s agenda, especially as minorities become a bigger part of the Democratic base.


Opinion among black voters is already evenly split. There’s also widespread public belief, per another question in the YouGov poll, that people choosing not to vote is a problem: Fully 61 percent of the public, including giant majorities of Democrats and Republicans, say the problem is “moderate” or “big.” Democratic leaders could build on that by arguing that disenfranchisement of the poor has reached some sort of crisis and normal remedies, like voter registration drives, are simply not equal to the task of solving that crisis. Mandatory voting is the only answer. There’s no democracy like democracy with the participation of the entire electorate, right? And if you oppose that, even for the stated reason that compelling people to express themselves politically at the polls violates the First Amendment, you obviously harbor a secret racist Republican wish to keep minorities from voting. Could they get to 50/50 on this issue within, say, 10 years by pushing that message? I wouldn’t bet against them. Would you?

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David Strom 8:41 PM on January 30, 2023