Youth For The Win! (YFTW) Series: Economy Key to Maintaining Youth Vote


Greenberg Quinlan Rosner / Democracy Corps

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YFTW!: Economy Key To Maintaining Youth Vote Memo (PDF - 59 K)

YFTW!: July Survey Results (PDF - 5 K)

 

Executive Summary

The most recent national survey of young voters conducted by Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner finds that the last six weeks have not dulled young people’s support for Barack Obama, despite the inauguration of a Republican attack machine. The new research finds the same convincing margin (27 points) as last month.

In their analysis, Stan Greenberg and James Carville of Democracy Corps, and Anna Greenberg and David Walker of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, find that the key to holding and potentially expanding the progressive margin largely lies in speaking directly to the specific economic concerns of these voters. Arguably, these voters have not heard — from either campaign — economic messages that meet them where they are, in their current economic struggle.

 

Key Findings

In the last six weeks there's been a period of remarkable political stability for Obama.  With youths, he has consolidated some of the gains we saw in the June survey and still posts a convincing 27-point margin (60 - 33 percent) over McCain.

Obama’s margin does not change much among likely voters (61 - 34 percent). We see some polarization along racial lines, as white youth withdraw somewhat (from a 51 - 42 percent Obama lead to a 46 - 45 statistical tie) while young people of color deliver an even higher margin (now 80 percent Obama, up from 74 percent) for this historic candidacy.

Youth voters today are under tremendous financial stress. Nearly half (47 percent) say they are one paycheck away from having to borrow money from credit cards or from their parents to make ends meet. Even among Republicans (47 percent), full-time workers (46 percent), white college educated youth (42 percent) and married young people (41 percent), there emerges considerable economic instability.

Young people clearly look for alternatives to this Republican economy. Obama’s margin balloons to 41 percent among young people with four or more forms of debt (student loans, credit cards, medical bills, etc.) and to 54 percent among voters facing a heavy financial stress.

 

Methodology

Between June 15 and June 29, 2008, Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research interviewed 600 young people, ages 18-29. This project does not exclude non-voters or unlikely voters in order to look at the wider population of young people. It used a multi-mode design including 60 cell phone interviews, 300 web based interviews and 240 interviews using a random digit dial sample conducted over the telephone.