Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Teach your children well?

This NYT article describes the findings of this poll. We learn, shockingly, that young people lean liberal, as (apparently) they almost always have, at least for the past half century.

I doubt we can predict anything about their future political behavior from this. And I’m not even sure that, given their general participation rates and the difficulty of mobilizing them, their predilections will make a big difference in 2008.

What we don’t from the article is that, for the most part, there’s not an appreciable difference between the views of those folks and the general population. And we certainly don’t learn that they’re slightly less pro-abortion than is the population as a whole and that, however tolerant and supportive of same-sex marriage and civil unions they are, they’re overwhelmingly unlikely to vote for a gay or lesbian presidential candidate.

Hat tip: Acton’s Anthony Bradley.

Update: Hugh Hewitt’s alter ego has more here.

Discussions - 6 Comments

If people vote one way in their first two presidential elections, they tend to stay that way. That's why bad numbers on young people are bad news for the GOP.

We learn, shockingly, that young people lean liberal, as (apparently) they almost always have, at least for the past half century.


If I recall correctly the polls from the federal elections held ~20 years ago, I think the cohorts born during the years running from 1960-1966 tended to vote Republican in their post-adolescent years (and may still). Do you have a cohort-by-cohort breakdown of voting preferences over the last fifty years?

Frisk, your worries are misplaced. People often change political allegiancies in their lives. It's not unlike the way that you never see adult men wearing AXE body spray.

There was an uptick in youth Republican allegiance during the Reagan era, but his highs were in the 30s, if I'm remembering the article correctly.

I'm sure Steve Hayward could help us out here.

I think you are remembering the article entirely incorrectly, or the article itself was at a variance with contemporaneous news reports. If I recall correctly, the newspaper reports of the exit polls conducted in 1984 indicated that Reagan's tally among voters under 25 exceeded 60% and exceeded the mean of the population as a whole; and that social categories where Mr. Mondale polled as well as you recall were ethnic and economic in character (i.e. blacks, Jews, the unemployed, and the lest affluent decile).

You're right. RWR got 59% in '84 and GHWB got 52% in '88, the only two times Republicans won a majority of the youth vote.

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