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  • Bush Tidal wave among young voters

       September 28, 2004

    I just got this email from the College Republican National Committee:

    President Bush 53%, Senator Kerry 41%

    A recent Washington Post/ABC poll shows President Bush leading John Kerry among young voters by 12 points, 53-41%.

    Since August, John Kerry lost 20 points and the President gained 18 points--a 38-point turnaround! The following is the polling data of the 18-30 year-old registered voters:

    Washington Post / ABC August 1
    Bush 35%
    Kerry 61%

    Washington Post/ABC August 30
    Bush 45%
    Kerry 53%

    Washington Post / ABC September 10
    Bush 46%
    Kerry 49%

    Washington Post / ABC September 28
    Bush 53%
    Kerry 41%

    Your hard work on campus is paying off in working to re-elect President Bush for four more years. Keep it up for 34 more days!

    Posted by jkhat at September 28, 2004 02:10 PM

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    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: Joe R. at September 28, 2004 03:06 PM

    Once the draft rumor B.S. got cleared up, he probably got a boost.

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: james at September 28, 2004 03:16 PM

    what do you mean by "cleared up," joe? i didn't really see anything 'debunking' the draft issue in the major media, only a few scattered stories in blog-land.

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: Joe R. at September 28, 2004 04:24 PM

    I didn't say it was done by the major media, nor is it complete. In fact, I dashed off a letter to the WaPo editor today about it. But lots of people started calling the Selective Service for themselves to find out if the story was true. I think the word has spread despite the MSM.

    Look at it from another angle: if voters 18-29 widely believed the draft rumors, I cannot see how the poll numbers would have turned around like that. Either the draft rumor isn't believed, or the poll numbers are meaningless. I don't think both can be true.

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: kris at September 28, 2004 04:34 PM

    Actually, I think that neither of your theories are true. I think that the vast majority of 18-29 year olds have no idea that Dems are trying to use a potential draft as a scare tactic.

    I think that the numbers have turned around for 18-29 year olds for the same reasons as everyone else: Kerry has no plans & no positions, they feel Bush can best handle terrorism and the economy has picked up.

    Drafts aren't the only thing young people care about. It's like saying women only care about abortions and men only care about guns.

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: james at September 28, 2004 04:58 PM

    Kris, you may be on to something. I do remember reading somewhere that Kerry's "draft scare" ads and/or tactics seem to be targeted to middle-aged undecided women, the theory being that no mother wants to send her child off to war. Makes sense, I think.

    Personally, I'd be inclined to think that most people 18-30 just haven't heard a lot about the possibility of a draft. That's not based on anything other than a gut-feeling, though. I really have no idea how many have or have not.

    Assuming arguendo that all people between 18 and 20 have heard about the draft rumor, however, after thinking about it, I think this poll looks at the wrong demographic to deduce any meaningful information about anything, both in terms of draft rumors and "young voter" support.

    First, assuming a vietnam style draft, which is what most people would be assuming, (rightly or wrongly), only those 18-26 would be affected. All men learn this when they register with selective service at age 18 as required by law. Just looking at that, it's likely that the 25 year olds and up are more indifferent about a draft than those 18-24 as they assume that it probably wouldn't affect them.

    Add to that that these are polls of registered voters. That means that most people 18-21 haven't voted in the past, as most people only register and vote in presidential elections. So a large portion of that population may not be counted in this poll.

    Additionally, there are many more registered voters at the upper edge of that age range, and finally, people tend to switch from leaning democrat to leaning republican when they get into their upper 20's.

    For these reasons I think

    1. The poll isn't a reliable indicator of young people's opinion about the draft

    2. The poll isn't a reliable indicator of what "young people" are thinking at all. It's probably true that Bush has much more support near the top of this range, and that Kerry has more support near the 18 year old side. Also, given the liberal bent of the nations youth, there are probably many more not-yet-registered Kerry supporters that there are Bush supporters.

    So, I think Joe is right, these poll numbers are meaningless for these 2 purposes. They certainly show more support for Bush, but say nothing about who that support is coming from or why it's increased.

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: kris at September 28, 2004 06:31 PM


    Not to be a contrarian, but in the latest ABC News poll (it's referenced in today's WJS Opinion Journal) Bush's 12 percent lead over Kerry among 18-30 years is his biggest lead in any age group.

    I just think you can't say things like "given the liberal bent of the nations youth" anymore. The natin's young people are turning out to way more conservative than youths past.

    We shouldn't make the mistake of thinking that because young people in the 60s were liberal, ALL young people will be liberal and then turn conservative. People don't simply follow a cycle from liberal to conservative as they get older.

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: james at September 28, 2004 06:50 PM

    kris, maybe i wasn't clear in expressing my thoughts. so bush's lead in 18-30 is the largest. so what? his lead in the 25-30, if measured, may well be largest. in fact, if defined as the 24-37 age group, perhaps that would be largest.

    my point is that 18-30 is a ridiculously broad range. a 30 year old is about as different from an 18 year than a 30 year old is from a 65 year old. anyone can take one pocket of really strong support and broaden it on each end such that the range is distorted enough to look there is broad support when in fact there isn't. that's a misleading numbers game.

    show me any real proof that the nation's youth are more conservative. have you been on a college campus lately? a high school? that just simply isn't true. I'm not basing anything I say on my impression of the 60's, either. It's been like that since the beginning of time. "If you're not a liberal by age 20, you don't have a heart. If you're not a conservative by age 40, you don't have a brain."

    I think you're wrong, because on average, people do get more conservative as they get older. that isn't a trend, it isn't a cycle. it's the result of living life, getting more responsibility, etc. i think that's pretty much accepted as fact in every school of political thought out there. for you to say "people simply dont," well, i don't know where in the world you're getting that. that's like saying "people simply don't get fatter as they get older."

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: kris at September 28, 2004 06:59 PM

    I get your point on those age groups, but I would point out that advertising demos are even broader and I think the people at Nielson know what they're doing.

    Have you heard about the Roe Effect? The thought behind it is that the nation is getting more and more conservative because women who had abortions were mostly liberal and therefore the children they didn't have would be more liberal too.

    I don't necessarily buy that, as saying you WILL follow your parent's political philosophy is a stretch (didn't they ever see Archie Bunker?), but the idea behind it is based on various attitudinal poling that shows that young people are indeed more conservative now.

    I'll find some of those studies for you sometime.

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: Joe R. at September 29, 2004 12:03 AM

    I actually read somewhere that Gen Z was more conservative than previous generations, but I'll put two caveats on it.

    1) I can't find any documentation on it right now. The best I can offer is that "I read it on the internet," which puts its reliability slightly ahead of CBS News.

    2) Switching from 80% liberal to 70% liberal would be a huge swing, but still leave it liberal.

    And I never had a heart. :(




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