It's Still The Economy, Stupid: Young Voters Edition


The college vote is up for grabs this year — to an extent that would have seemed unlikely two years ago, when a generation of young people seemed to swoon over Barack Obama. Though many students are liberals on social issues, the economic reality of a weak job market has taken a toll on their loyalties: far fewer 18- to 29-year-olds now identify themselves as Democrats compared with 2008.

“Is the recession, which is hitting young people very hard, doing lasting or permanent damage to what looked like a good Democratic advantage with this age group?” asked Scott Keeter, the director of survey research at the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan group. “The jury is still out.”

It's still the economy, stupid.

Speaking for me only

< It's Still The Economy, Stupid | Friday Morning Open Thread >
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    I didn't want to weigh in on this but.... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 09:25:56 AM EST
    It was sort of stupid to make as much of the young voters as was made of them in the longterm.  There is a political learning curve out there tied up with a lot of rebel without a clue :)

    I had listened to so much Democrat spiel growing up. I had witnessed my father strike and picket and get all riled up about wages and benefits.  I had been to Democratic fundraisers as a child.  I was sick of it.  When I could finally vote I voted for Ronald Reagan.  When I got home for Christmas break I proudly announced it and my grandfather threw me out of the house (he did let me back in for Christmas Day but he scowled at me the whole time), it felt great.  By the time Reagan was done with me it didn't feel so great :)  Few have been as indoctinated as I have, and you still can't count on me voting a straight ticket or sending you money or anything.  You must earn me.

    The (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 09:32:04 AM EST
    young voter model has been shown to fail time and again. 20 somethings have no loyalty and will vote for the shiny new toy every time if they even show up. And they are notorious for not even showing up.

    Ha. I already have a list of likelies (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 09:40:26 AM EST
    who perhaps could adapt, for the question of whether to go to the polls, this handy online calculator that helps them determine whether to get out of bed even to go to class.

    But based on those young voters whom I know better, they will go to the polls.  Then again, I'm in one of the leading states where young voters do so -- so I will be interested in what other commenters see.


    Can only go by what I see from my (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by MO Blue on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 09:53:56 AM EST
    grandson who is 19. Since his BD is in February, he was not eligible to vote in 2008 which upset him to no end. Man how he wanted to be able to cast his vote for president.

    Now that he can vote there is no excitement about voting in the midterm election. I've had a couple of conversations with him about how it is important to vote in every election and not just when it is a presidential. He loves his nana, is very nice to me and saves his eye rolls for his parents, but I don't  think I'm not really getting through to him.

    BTW, on other things he is very responsible and a good student.  


    I would (none / 0) (#6)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 09:44:53 AM EST
    wager that here in Ga it will be more or less the same low turnout it always is since no one except Roy Barnes is offering any economic solutions and most of them were too young to remember how well Barnes did with the economy.

    Good for your grandfather:) (none / 0) (#22)
    by christinep on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 02:24:40 PM EST
    And good that you learned from the Republican Reagan bill-of-bads. And now--and I can hardly say this without smiling--the Democratic campaigner that I am says "Be like your grandfather" and remember where the greater good over the long haul will be. (And, hopefully, we can earn you back again...for the duration.)

    This was the same grandfather (none / 0) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 04:43:56 PM EST
    who was a self made financial success and a complete New Deal Democrat.  I honestly don't know what he would think of what is going on right now.  He'd proabably want Obama primaried.

    The one piece of legislation that was (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by MO Blue on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 09:35:29 AM EST
    passed which I strongly approved of was the changes to the student loan program. Since it would not effect me personally, I didn't delve deeply into it but it sounded like a really good thing. Have those changes gone into effect and are they providing a real benefit to young people?

    If so, I would think that the Dems would be shouting this change to the rooftops right about now.


    True. Though, (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by dk on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 09:38:40 AM EST
    you can usually get a deferrment on your federal loan when you are unemployed, so at the moment many young people have a lot more immediate things to worry about and feel let down about in terms of the national Democratic party's "accomplishments."

    Changes went into effect July 1 (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 09:47:13 AM EST
    as I recall.  Are they helping?  Several students I know well enough to know this answer are getting more aid -- but then again, tuition went up, too.

    I did see immediate benefit to one of my seniors, working too many hours to get to graduation at long last, after I told my classes last spring to be sure to update their FAFSAs, if they and/or their families had incurred job losses and the like in the terrible economy in our state.

    Two weeks later, the student was delighted to tell me that the financial aid office already had called to say that there would be retroactive full aid for that semester and more to come in summer, if the student opted to take classes then -- before tuition went up again.  

    So the student did walk in Commencement in May, to the delight of the student's family, and then took the final two classes this summer.  I know, because the classes were with me, and I can vouch that the student passed with great grades -- in part because work hours could be reduced a bit.

    Moral of the story:  If you know any students today, tell them to be sure to update FAFSAs, which can be done at any time and even can mean retroactive aid to get to graduation.

    Of course, then comes the job search. . . .  Sigh.  


    I'm no expert (none / 0) (#7)
    by BDB on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 09:45:41 AM EST
    But I found this interesting and depressing in that it seems the "good" in the student loan bill is mostly for the government and not the students.  Really, assuming this chart is right, this nation has treated its students (mostly young people) mostly as cash machines for large companies, but I guess that's more or less how we treat everybody these days.

    It's better than it was (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 09:50:41 AM EST
    with the government instead of the private lenders, which really were cashing in on college students.

    And it will be better than it was for those enrolling in the for-profit schools, after the recent Congressional hearings that exposed those schools.  The worst of the student loans were in that sector.  Sad stories.


    Also intriguing at that link (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Cream City on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 09:58:14 AM EST
    are data on other generations.  Only 18% of Boomers consider themselves liberal?  I think that is a considerable drop but must go try to find out. . . .  If it is a drop, it also is an indicator of how hard this economy, as we know, is hitting all generations.

    18% of Boomers liberal? (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 09:59:39 AM EST

    Where have all the flowers gone? (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by oculus on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 11:12:47 AM EST
    Isn't that typical? (none / 0) (#14)
    by jbindc on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 11:15:52 AM EST
    Most people, as they get older and more jaded (and make more money) tend to grow more conservative (not necessarily politically, but in general)?

    To that great of a degree? (none / 0) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 11:19:47 AM EST
    The Republicans (none / 0) (#16)
    by jbindc on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 11:27:58 AM EST
    Have succeeded in making it a dirty word over the last 40 years or so - the whole time Boomers have been politically active.  At some point, it's easier not to slap a label on yourself, so my guess is, some boomer liberals are "in the closet" on what to call themselves.

    Yes, we agree (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by brodie on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 11:30:16 AM EST
    on this one (see my below).  40 yrs of REpubs ridiculing liberals and liberalism, with no liberal resistance, while also liberals have failed to similarly tarnish conservatism.

    Less about the economy, imo, (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by brodie on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 11:28:12 AM EST
    than the fact that the liberal label has been pounded hard by the Repub Right for about 40 yrs now, with little or no resistance by wimpy liberals, who've sought refuge in the term "progressive" or less frequently "moderate".

    I don't have a cite, but I'd imagine that similar polls done in the mid-70s would have shown a 35-40% Boomer group self-identifying as liberal, about the number that call themselves conservative today.  My sense, w/o wanting to actually spend time googling up the numbers, is that Boomers basically still adhere to liberal values on various positions (SS, care for the elderly, environment, min wage, etc) but just don't feel comfortable with the overall label.


    I tend to agree with this (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by MO Blue on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 11:42:31 AM EST
    My sense, w/o wanting to actually spend time googling up the numbers, is that Boomers basically still adhere to liberal values on various positions (SS, care for the elderly, environment, min wage, etc) but just don't feel comfortable with the overall label.

    The country as a whole has been brainwashed over the years to believe that being a liberal is a bad thing.


    Economy? (none / 0) (#25)
    by Politalkix on Sat Sep 04, 2010 at 04:08:01 PM EST
    If only 18% of boomers consider themselves liberal in a bad economy, deficits may resonate  better with more boomers than stimulus. However, I do not believe that the economy has anything to do with whether people identifies themselves as conservatives or liberals.

    Deaf on the drugwar (none / 0) (#20)
    by Ben Masel on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 11:58:33 AM EST
    Obama's problem with young voters began just days into his administration, when, rather than seriously address the majority of respondents to his "Ask the President' online event who called for reform of our antiquated marijuana laws, he belittled them, and then shut down the forum. Keep in mind it's young folks who actually get arrested, and then face loss of Student Aid, etc.

    Say it's only a priority for 4% of the electorate. That's 4% you sure could use this November. I know Sen. Feingold's campaign is damn glad we've got (non-binding) marijuana referenda on the Wisconsin ballot in Madison and a couple smaller college towns in Wisconsin this November.

    So, you wanna talk about motivating young voters? (none / 0) (#21)
    by SeeEmDee on Fri Sep 03, 2010 at 12:02:50 PM EST
    How about engaging a potential voting bloc, not comprised of just young voters but a bloc that includes them as well as nearly every demographic there is? One that has been  ready and eager to press a voting button for 'liberal' causes...but has been shunned, ridiculed, marginalized (and in many cases, brutalized) by most of society...and by both political parties.

    Who are they?

    Responsible, job-holding, politically and socially engaged...cannabis users.

    And before anyone supplies a knee-jerk Pavlovian put-down, consider what I just said. They're scores of millions strong. They're ready and willing...but because of past treatment, their position is the same as Military Tracy's. You must 'earn them', because they've been abused for so long, they are extremely wary and suspicious of sweet-talking, glad-handing bastards that will abandon them for a half percentage point in a poll.

    You want to clobber the Rethugs at election time? Have the Dem 'leadership' demonstrate some intestinal fortitude when it comes to drug law reform, like supporting California's Prop19, instead of engaging  one-upmanship with the the Forked-Tongues (like Feinstein is right now about 19) in trying to be 'tougher on crime' than the the (criminal) R's. Because the Reptillians will burn Dems anyway, about anything they do.

    You want numbers? There they are. But don't give them any crap about sacrificing their position 'for the good of the country' and all that, for the same rationale has been used to destroy millions of their lives. They've caught Hell from both Dems and Reptiles, for decades, and believe only in action.

    So, how about it? Want to keep seats that may be endangered? Here's your chance. But don't take too long, as Flaky Feinstein is busy shooting your potentially critical support in their feet with her anti-19 antics.