Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Substantial Majority Of Young Republicans Support Gay Marriage

Posted Mar 12, 2014 at 9:00 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a poll released by Pew Research, "today, 61% of Republicans and Republican leaners under 30 favor same-sex marriage while just 35% oppose it. By contrast, just 27% of Republicans ages 50 and older favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry."

Obama Loosing Young Americans

Posted Dec 19, 2013 at 9:50 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by the USA Today/Pew Research reports that just 45% of 18- to 29-year-old Americans approve of the way President Obama is handling his job; 46% disapprove. The survey notes that "the president's approval rating with young Americans -- which stood at 67% just ahead of his second inauguration less than a year ago -- now mirrors the general population."

Young Voters Abandon The President

Posted Dec 05, 2013 at 8:11 AM by Maurice Berger

A new poll by Harvard Institute of Politics of 18 to 29-years old voters reports that 52% would vote to recall President Obama.

The Demographics Of The President's Approval Numbers

Posted Apr 17, 2012 at 8:31 AM by Maurice Berger

Gallup has a fascinating demographic snapshot of the president's approval rating, now at 47%. Significantly, he holds a solid majority from his own party (84%), and does extremely well with African American (88%) and Hispanic voters (61%). The demographic breakdown also suggest a few red flags for the President's reelection effort: only 36% of white voters approve of his performance, he polls no better than 38% with voters over the age of 65%, and--perhaps most significantly--his standing among independents hovers at 40%. The good news for the administration: approval numbers do not always reflect voter sentiment in a general election. Obama's fares much better with independents, for example, when pitted against his likely GOP challenger, Mitt Romney. Stay tuned.



Young Republicans More Enthusiastic About Midterm Elections

Posted Mar 10, 2010 at 12:13 AM by Maurice Berger

In an ominous sign for Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections, A Harvard Institute of Politics survey of 18 to 29 year-old voters, reports that Republicans are more enthusiastic about voting and participating Democrats, with 41% of Republicans planning on voting, compared to 35% of Democrats and 13% of Independents.

Democrats Loosing Young Voters

Posted Feb 23, 2010 at 1:36 AM by Maurice Berger

In what is surely a troubling sign for Democrats, the party appears to be loosing young voters--a key component of President Obama's margin of victory in 2008: "The "Millennial Generation" of young voters played a big role in the resurgence of the Democratic Party in the 2006 and 2008 elections, but their attachment to the Democratic Party weakened markedly over the course of 2009. The Democratic advantage over the Republicans in party affiliation among young voters, including those who "lean" to a party, reached a whopping 62% to 30% margin in 2008. But by the end of 2009 this 32-point margin had shrunk to just 14 points: 54% Democrat, 40% Republican." Still, as the survey reports, "While the Republican Party picked up support from Millennials during 2009, this age group continues to favor the Democratic Party more than do other generations. And the underlying political values of this new generation continue to be significantly more liberal than those of other generations on many measures.

Election 2009: Did Obama's Base Hold?

Posted Nov 05, 2009 at 12:26 AM by Maurice Berger

Another problem for the Democrats in Tuesday's election: parts of the Obama coalition--responsible for his easy victory last year--did not hold. As MSNBC notes: "Obama’s Base Is No Longer Fired Up And Ready To Go . . . According to the exit polls, just 10% of the voters in Virginia were under the age of 30, down from 21% last year. What’s more, McDonnell won 18-29 year olds, 54%-44%. Also in Virginia yesterday, African Americans made up 16% of the vote, down from 20% last year. And then there’s this: 51% of yesterday’s voters in Virginia said they voted for McCain, while just 43% said they voted for Obama. Folks, Obama won this state last year by a nearly 53%-46% margin."

Obama Approval Remains Steady at 61%

Posted Jun 30, 2009 at 2:05 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a new CNN/Opinion Research poll, President Obama's approval rating among Americans remains steady. 61% of people questioned say they approve of how Obama's handling his duties as president; 37% disapprove: "The 61% approval rating is down one point from May and down six points from February . . . The poll suggests when it comes to opinions of Obama, gender and generation gaps continue. Sixty-seven percent of women questioned in the survey approve of how Obama's handling his job as president. That number drops to 54 percent among men. Two-thirds of people under 50 years old questioned in the poll approve of the president's handling of his duties. That number drops to 54 percent among people over 50 years of age."

The Question Of Gay Marriage

Posted Jun 03, 2009 at 2:22 AM by Maurice Berger

A reader, Derek Fields, writes the following to PollTrack's political director:

I haven't seen the specific wording of the Gallup poll, but I wonder whether they ask any questions that separate the issue of legal protections for "united" gays versus the religious overtones of the term "marriage"  My understanding is that when a pollster asks a question that addresses the civil protections without introducing the term marriage, support for gay unions jumps substantially. 

Given the strong support generational divide in the poll numbers, I would speculate that the days when a majority opposes gay marriage in this country are severely limited.

Given the descrepany in recent polling, Derek is undoutedly correct. The very wording of a question within a survey--especially a controversial one--can dramatically alter the overall result. As for the second point, fresh polling absolutely backs up Derek's assumption about future attitudes about gay marriage. The recent Gallup survey, for example, reports that a "majority of 18- to 29-year-olds think gay or lesbian couples should be allowed to legally marry, while support reaches only as high as 40% among the three older age groups." The overall numbers for support of gay marriage amomng younger voters hovers around the 60% mark--a clear harbinger of future trends in the United States.

The Democrat's (Not So) Secret Weapon: "Millennial" Voters

Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 3:01 AM by Maurice Berger

According to a recently published analysis of Election 2008, some of the credit for Obama's victory should go to the newest generation of young voters. Aided (and prodded) by new technologies of communications--from cell phones and computers to text messaging--and aligned into an active political community by social networks such as MySpace and FaceBook, young voters are helping to alter the content and processes of American politics. As Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais write: "Senator Barack Obama’s success in the 2008 presidential campaign marks more than an historical turning point in American politics. It also signals the beginning of a new era for American society, one dominated by the attitudes and behaviors of the largest generation in American history. Millennials, born between 1982 and 2003, now comprise almost one-third of the U.S. population and without their overwhelming support for his candidacy, Barack Obama would not have been able to win his party’s nomination, let alone been elected President of the United States. This new, “civic” generation is dramatically different than the boomers who have dominated our society since the 1960s and understanding this shift is critical to comprehending the changes that America will experience over the next forty years."


Significant Generational Shift In Electorate: Young Voters Now More Democratic

Posted Nov 20, 2008 at 1:17 AM by Maurice Berger

An analysis by the Pew Research Center suggests that there is a significant generational shift in voting patterns: young voters have moved decidedly into the Democratic camp: "In the last three general elections - 2004, 2006, and 2008 -- young voters have given the Democratic Party a majority of their votes, and for all three cycles they have been the party's most supportive age group. This year, 66% of those under age 30 voted for Barack Obama making the disparity between young voters and other age groups larger than in any presidential election since exit polling began in 1972. This pattern of votes, along with other evidence about the political leanings of young voters, suggests that a significant generational shift in political allegiance is occurring. This pattern has been building for several years, and is underscored among voters this year. Among voters ages 18-29, a 19-point gap now separates Democratic party affiliation (45%) and Republican affiliation (26%). In 2000, party affiliation was split nearly evenly among the young." If this patterns hold, it will present a real challenge to Republicans, since a coalition of African-American, Hispanic, Jewish, and young voters constituted a significant majority for Obama in the 2008 cycle.

Why Obama Won: Building A Powerful Coalition

Posted Nov 10, 2008 at 2:14 AM by Maurice Berger

When it comes to the issue of how "race" played out on Election Day, one thing is certain: if the outcome was determined only by white people, John McCain would be president, by a landslide. Indeed, Obama garnered just 43% of the white vote to McCain's 57%, a 14% deficit that was only marginally better than Kerry or Gore's total and about the same as Bill Clinton. The Democrat was able to count on four groups for his impressive victory. Preeminently, the intensity and unprecedented numbers of African-American voters made the difference for Obama, especially in the closest fought states, such as Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia, and Ohio. This support was almost singlehandedly responsible for the Democrat's ability to pick off the true-red states of NC and IN. The black vote also deepened and widened Obama's victories in scores of Kerry-blue states, from New York to California. Hispanic voters represented another important asset: Obama led McCain among Hispanics 67% to 30%, a 10% increase in Democrat support from 2004. in his home state, McCain trailed Obama among Hispanics 61% to 36%, making that race surprisingly close. The Hispanic vote was crucial to Obama in the southwest, handing him easy victories in Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico. And in Florida, where Cuban-Americans have traditionally tilted the Hispanic vote towards Republicans in virtually every presidential cycle, Obama won 57% to 42%. Another religious minority also played a key role in several states: Jewish-Americans, who gave the Democrat nearly 80% of their vote. (Jews are one of the demographic groups most loyal to the Democratic Party.) The Jewish vote in South Florida was crucial to handing the Republican leaning state to Obama. (Another state where the Jewish vote made a big difference: Ohio). Finally, through amazing outreach to the 18 to 29-year old demographic, the Obama campaign was able to boost the turnout of younger voters by more than 3 million, enough to hand the Democrat such razor close states as North Carolina and Indiana. Together, these four groups represented not only a winning coalition, but a shift in the power-base of the national electorate, allowing racial and religious minorities and young people to make a profound difference in the outcome of Election 2008.

Variable #2: The Youth Vote

Posted Nov 03, 2008 at 5:07 AM by Maurice Berger

Factor #2: Will one of the voting blocs most favorable to Obama--young voters, 18-29 years old--stay home or come out in record numbers? In early voting across the country--from North Carolina and Ohio to Florida and Nevada--the turnout for these voters has been disappointing. A spike in young voters could swing close battleground states such as NC and FL to Obama and provide him with landslides in others. Over the past half-century, this bloc has been one of the most unreliable in the general electorate: between school work, exams, and other factors, young folks inevitably stay home. In 1972, as in this cycle, enthusiastic young voters provided Democratic candidate George McGovern with an enormous advantage during primary season. By Election Day, the so-called "youth vote" failed to materialize, contributing to the Democrat's devastating lose against incumbent Republican president Richard M. Nixon. Can Obama break this 50 year streak of under-performance?

Are New, Hispanic, and Younger Voters Under-performing?

Posted Oct 30, 2008 at 1:03 AM by Maurice Berger

An analysis of early voting data in Nevada suggests that in that state, at least, three of Obama's key constituents are under-performing. The Las Vegas Review-Journal writes: "As Nevadans continue to flock to the polls, turnout among those three groups is lagging, at least in the early going. While turnout statewide was nearly 25 percent through Sunday, it was just 20 percent among Hispanic voters, 14 percent among voters under 30 and 15 percent among those who didn't vote in the last three elections, according to an analysis of state early voting records through Sunday prepared by America Votes, an organization that works to mobilize voters." Such under-voting could be a problem for Obama in the most competitive and closely fought swing states, including skewing likely voter models in polls in the direction of voters who may not show up in anticipated numbers. 

First Time And Younger Voters May Not Show Up

Posted Oct 24, 2008 at 1:45 AM by Maurice Berger

Gallup reports that its surveys do not see a marked increase in first time voters who say they will participate in this election: "Gallup finds 13% of registered voters saying they will vote for president for the first time in 2008. That matches the figure Gallup found in its final 2004 pre-election poll." The polling organization also reports, surprisingly, that its polling of young voters suggests that they may not turn out in greater numbers than in previous elections. Gallup writes of its analysis of young voters in the 2008 election: "Although Barack Obama leads John McCain by almost 30 percentage points among 18- to 29-year-old registered voters, these younger voters are still less likely than older voters to report being registered to vote, paying attention to the election, or planning to vote this year . . . At the most basic level, younger voters are significantly less likely than those who are older to report that they are registered to vote. Perhaps most importantly, younger voters are much less likely to self-report that they are likely to vote." On the ground evidence, at this point, seems to back up Gallup's finding: Florida and North Carolina, states which release updated election-related data daily, report that young voters are less than eager this year. The Wall Street Journal reports that in Florida, "voters under 30 years old account for 44% of those who registered between November 2007 and the beginning of October. So far this week, the under-30 crowd accounted for only 26% of the ballots cast by new voters. North Carolina’s young voters are more enthusiastic, but not much: They accounted for 47% of new voters, but only 36% of the ballots cast by new voters since early voting began last week." These patterns match Gallup's reporting on earlier elections, thus could spell trouble for the Obama's campaign's youth outreach and turnout campaigns (though the Democrat maintains a modest lead in their daily tracking surveys, even when the lower turnout model is applied to younger voters).