The Corner

Kids These Days …

… still overwhelmingly prefer President Obama, notes Gallup:


Voters aged 18 to 29 in Gallup’s most recent five-day average, April 20-24, support Obama over Romney by 35 percentage points, 64% to 29%, and — compared with older age groups — have been disproportionately supportive of Obama since Gallup’s tracking began on April 11, albeit by differing margins.

There is a catch, however — it’s unclear how many are planning to drag themselves to the ballot box:

The practical value of Obama’s broad support among young voters is lessened by the fact that only six in 10 of these voters say they are registered to vote, and that fewer than six in 10 who are registered say they will definitely vote in November’s election. 

Still, considering that Obama beat John McCain by 34 points among young adults in 2008, Romney likely needs to make some inroads to win. In my piece on the homepage today, I look at Romney’s difficulties in winning over the 18 to 29-year-old set:


In March, on the eve of the Illinois primary, over a thousand Bradley University students gathered to hear Mitt Romney. Dressed casually, many in shorts and T-shirts, they stood outside on an unusually warm spring day in Peoria. They listened as 30-year-old Republican Representative Aaron Schock introduced Romney, and watched as Romney was presented with a bright red Bradley University hoodie. When Romney took the microphone, he passionately made the case for young adults to embrace the GOP.

“Every trillion dollars this president amasses, every year, guess who is going to pay that?” he asked. “Not me. I’m gone. I’m too old to pay it back. You’re going to pay it back.”

But there was no indication that Romney’s message resonated. Some of those watching called out “Obama 2012.” The first question was pointed: “So you’re all for like, yay, freedom, and all this stuff,” a woman said. “And yay, like pursuit of happiness. You know what would make me happy? Free birth control.” A short distance away on the campus, a group of young adults held up a blue sign spray-painted with this message: “Romney Fleecing America!”

As a twenty-something myself, I’m used to people simply assuming I’m an Obama fan. And I’m also struck by how much success the Democrats and Obama have had in making voting for a Republican an act viewed as socially bizarre by large swathes of young adults not living in red states. Romney’s making compelling arguments for why young adults should vote for him: they’re the ones who will have to pay back the debt, and they’re the ones who would benefit greatly by an increase in number of jobs available. But unless his team manages to develop some new messaging style that really resonates among young adults, it’s hard to see him shifting a large chunk of the youth vote his way, although he may succeed in getting some of them too discouraged about Obama to bother voting for him again.

Katrina TrinkoKatrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...


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