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Can Republicans Cut into Obama's Advantage among Young Voters?

12:22 PM, Nov 17, 2008 • By GARY ANDRES
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This chart from a recent Pew report about the youth vote is fascinating. We've all seen the numbers on the growing Obama and Democratic edge among voters under 30 repeated ad nauseam. But it's interesting how closely various subgroups of voters over 30 divided.

2008 would have been a nail biter without 18-29 year olds.

McCain and Obama split independents, college-educated voters and non-college-educated voters almost evenly. McCain also experienced the traditional gender gap--winning men by 4 points and losing women by 6 points. And each candidate drew an overwhelming number of self-identified partisans.

It's just hard to win an election when you lose 18 percent of the electorate by more than a 2-1 margin (18-29 year-olds split 66 percent-31 percent for Obama)


Research suggests getting some of these young voters back will be difficult but not impossible. Despite all the hype surrounding this election, young voters are still less interested and engaged in politics than older Americans. We also know partisan bonds are weakest at an earlier age. So if you can get younger voters to pay attention long enough to a new GOP message, I suspect that in a post-Bush world and with a lot of hard work, Republicans will be able to trim this deficit. But challenges abound in finding new messengers and crafting a more appealing message. To paraphrase Vince Lombardi, it's not what you say that is important, but what people hear.