There is little sign that the midterms will be anything other than a horrendous night for Democrats and, by extension, President Obama. But Rock the Vote on Wednesday unveiled the results of a new poll of young voters, aged 18-29, haven’t turned their backs on the party in power at the same rate as other demographics.
While there has been erosion in the past two years, Obama and the Democrats still have the highest favorable ratings, 56% and 46% respectively. Republicans score 36% and their most formidable figure, Sarah Palin, is at a mere 28%. Some 25% see the Tea Party favorably.
What Obama and the Dems have not done is restore faith in the process, as some 59% say they are more cynical about politics than they were in 2008. In fact, a plurality, or 36%, says that it doesn’t matter which party is in control of Congress.
In contrast to Tea Party appeals against big government, an overwhelming number of young voters, 76%, said that big corporations have too much power. The top national concerns were unemployment and the national debt, but that was followed by the influence of corporations and special interests in the political system.
Moreover, when a series of policy proposals were tested, the ones that scored highest were all about increased government action, topped by increased investment in renewable energy sources and followed by increased government grants to make college more affordable. A majority, 57%, supported the new healthcare reform law. Also scoring high: Pulling troops out of Afghanistan.
Overall, a plurality of young voters is disappointed in Obama’s performance. But of those who actually voted for him — he trounced McCain in that age group in 2008 — 49% are pleased with his performance.
Rock the Vote, which is non partisan, is making its greatest effort yet to boost midterm turnout, and that is where it gets dicey for the Democrats. Like they do in other age categories, Republicans have an enthusiasm advantage. Some 64% of 2008 young voters say they are very likely to vote in November, including 62% of Obama voters and 73% of McCain voters.
A plurality of young adults — 49% — say that the country is going in the wrong direction, including 60% of whites. But a majority of African Americans, 63%, and Hispanics, 51%, say that it is going in the right direction.
The complete results of the poll are here.
The org Voto Latino also has launched an effort to boost turnout among young voters, called United We Win, using statewide movements, like those in Arizona, to pass laws approving racial profiling “under the guise of immigration reform.” Appearing in the spot are Wilmer Valderrama, Eva Longoria-Parker, Rosario Dawson and Jessica Alba, the spots will be shown on NBC Universal’s mun2 network.