Greenberg Quinlan Rosner / Democracy Corps


Report: YFTW: Rising Wave Memo (PDF - 40 K)

DCorps Youth: Survey Results (PDF - 3 K)

DCorps Youth: Data Crosstabs (PDF - 29 K)


 Executive Summary

Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner new survey of youth shows Barack Obama expanding his support among young people. Obama now beats McCain 60 to 33 percent in a named ballot for President, a margin that echoes the Democratic advantage in the 2006 congressional elections (60 - 38 percent). Obama’s improvement reflects three critical dynamics: his own improved standing in the post-primary period, the further collapse of the Republican brand among youth and, finally, the “branding” of John McCain as a Republican.


Key Findings

  • Over the last two months, Barack Obama increased his margin over John McCain by 8 points, a huge shift in a presidential ballot, from 57 to 37 percent in favor of Obama to 60 to 33 percent. This improvement reflects gains throughout the young electorate, but most notably among white women, Hispanics and blue collar youth.
  • The Republican brand was so diminished among youth that a significant collapse seemed improbable. Nonetheless, that is what happened. Every core measure, including party favorability, support for a generic Republican candidate for president and George Bush’s standing (now 68 percent negative) suffers significant erosion.
  • Most notably, John McCain no longer is seen as the “exceptional Republican” who stands above the Republican brand. His favorability not only closely mirrors the overall favorability of the Republican party, but shares the same downward trajectory.
  • There is still room to expand and energize this Democratic base group. There are still some wounds from the primary left to heal. One key will be binding McCain even closer to the Bush legacy—a process that has already started—and holding Bush and McCain accountable for leaving the next generation with so many problems to clean up—the war, the economy, debt, and so forth.



This population is exceptionally difficult to reach through traditional polling methods. More important, traditional polling methods are no longer a reliable way of understanding America’s young people. More than a quarter of young people do not have conventional land-line phones and many (46 percent in this survey) among those that have lines do not use them as their main service for incoming calls.. This means that most will not be reached with a land-line phone survey. Therefore, this project involves a multi-modal approach using web-based interviewing, cell phone interviewing, as well as a land-line sample. Moreover, as turnout represents such a critical variable in the political disposition of young people, this project does not screen for likely voters. Between May 29 and June 10, 2008, Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research interviewed 600 young people, ages 18-29.