Which group of voters’ support for (or opposition to) Mitt Romney will hinge the most on his vice presidential choice? According to a newly released Politico-George Washington University poll, the answer is: Republicans under the age of 45.
The poll asked likely voters across the political spectrum, “How much impact will Mitt Romney’s choice of a Vice Presidential running mate have on your vote? Would you say that this selection will be extremely, very, somewhat, or not at all impactful on your decision about voting for Mitt Romney?”
By a margin of 26 percentage points, likely voters as a whole said that Romney’s choice would have no impact (61 percent), rather than at least some impact (35 percent), on their decision about whether to vote for him. Republican voters, meanwhile, split just about right down the middle on the question — 51 percent said Romney’s decision would have no impact, while 48 percent said it would have at least some impact.
By a margin of 12 points the other way, however, Republican voters under the age of 45 — a group that makes up over 15 percent of the total electorate (according to the poll) — said that the choice would matter. Among GOP voters under 45 years of age, 56 percent said that Romney’s choice would have at least some impact on their decision about whether to vote for him, while only 45 percent said that it would have no impact. (There’s a slight rounding error.) That’s a 38-point swing (from minus-26 to plus-12) from voters as a whole, and a 15-point swing (from minus-3 to plus-12) from Republicans as a whole.
In fact, among any group of voters that includes at least 10 percent of the total electorate (and the poll breaks up voters into about every imaginable subgroup), Republicans under the age of 45 care the most about Romney’s vice presidential pick.