President Obama’s Disconnect with Young Voters
Liz | 04/28 at 05:11 PM
Charles Blow posted in Saturday’s New York Times the results of a survey of young people between the ages of 18 to 29 conducted by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. It presents an interesting glimpse into the Millennial mind – comparing issues of relative importance to this group. The conclusion? President Obama, who is so keen to woo these young voters, it totally out of step. This is the source material I used in a recent piece for The Fiscal Times, posted on Friday, April 28, in which I disputed the notion that Mr. Obama had the youth vote sewn up.
Here’s why: a number of issues dear to Mr. Obama don’t appear to be of great significance to Millennials. For instance, young people rate “Creating jobs and lowering the unemployment rate” way above “Addressing income inequality” - 85% of the time, to be exact. On that matrix alone, I would argue he’s lost this group; while he blocked the Keystone Pipeline and its attendant jobs, for instance, he’s hell bent to get the rich to “pay their fair share.” For the young set, construction jobs trumps the Buffett Rule. But surely they understand the environmental implications, you say. Not really. They rate crating jobs ahead of “combating the effects of climate change” 79% of the time. How right they are
I’m not sure if Mr. Blow’s intention was to paint the president as out of touch, but any reading of this research grid points in that direction. One concern where Mr. Obama’s campaign appears to hit pay dirt is healthcare, which is an issue that matters greatly to young voters, and we have to assume that they will reward him for his efforts in this arena. Unless – and it’s a big unless – Republicans can persuade voters of all ages that Obamacare does not “ensure affordable access to healthcare” as the president has claimed. Given the steady drumbeat of negative surprises emanating out of Obamacare – higher costs, failed experiments and the dishonest wizardry used to deceive the public about the program’s true cost – that should not be difficult.
The third most important issue to young people is “lowering the tax burden for all Americans. This priority outweighs “reducing the role of big money in U.S. elections” 59% of the time. Mr. Obama may well give up on this crowd- they apparently just don’t get how dangerous democracy, and money, can be.
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