When President Obama was elected in 2008 national exit polls had him carrying 66 percent of young voters versus Republican John McCain’s 32 percent. President Obama carried strongly the college vote but now political scientists believe there may be a shift in the youth vote.
“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.’ ”
“How and whether millions of college students vote will help determine if Republicans win enough seats to retake the House or Senate, overturning the balance of power on Capitol Hill, and with it, Mr. Obama’s agenda. If students tune out and stay home it will also carry a profound message for American society about a generation that seemed so ready, so recently, to grab national politics by the lapels and shake.”
The article goes onto to examine the student body at Colorado State University, which is apparently pretty representative of Colorado itself. Once solidly Republican the county where the university is and the state of Colorado have voted Democrat in recent elections. They county and the state are now viewed as unpredictable.
So what do you think: Will the recession influence a generation of college students’ political affiliations? Has your high school or college students’ opinions been changed or re-invigorated by the recession?
Can you think of similar historical or economic events that shaped your political views when you were in college?
(We have two topic today! Look below for a Fun Friday game!)