Category Archives: Younger voters

Wednesday’s trending topics

The young adult vote — Harvard University surveyed 18-29 year-olds and 43% said they plan to vote for President Obama and 26% said they will vote for Mitt Romney. This is not the same but in February, the Elon University Poll showed that in the 18-34 age group, 48 percent of North Carolinians approve of how Obama is handling the presidency and 38 percent disapprove.

Past, present and possibly future first ladiesMichelle Obama and Ann Romney outscore their husbands in personal popularity in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, while Hillary Clinton, for her part, has hit a new high in favorability data stretching back to her entry on the national stage 20 years ago.

Marriage Amendment — Opinions of likely voters are shifting on the same-sex marriage ban amendment to the N.C. Constitution. PPP reports that 54% of likely voters say they support the amendment, which is down from its earlier polls. The Elon Poll earlier this month showed that 61% of North Carolinians say they oppose an amendment. The Elon poll surveys North Carolina residents, not just likely voters.

— John Robinson

President Obama: the cool factor

You know how you can have a political discussion with a friend and agree to disagree? That seems to be the sort of relationship that a lot of North Carolinians have with President Obama.

When asked “Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of President Obama?” 47 percent responded replied “favorable” and 44 percent said “unfavorable.” This in spite of their less than glowing evaluation of his job performance.

Let’s break the numbers down a bit.

* Gender: women — 53 percent favorable; men — 41 percent

* Ideology: conservatives — 23 percent; moderates — 57 percent favorable; liberals — 85 percent

* Age: 18-34 — 50 percent favorable; 35-54 — 46 percent; 55+ — 47 percent

We don’t have similar numbers on the GOP candidates; perhaps when there is a nominee.

What to make of the numbers? North Carolinians seem to think that, on the whole, he’s a likeable guy. My guess is that they know he has a tough job with many things outside of his control and, even though they may not like his policies, they respect that he’s trying.

Or, it could be something less identifiable. I showed my mass communication class a video clip of Obama singing “Let’s Stay Together” at the Apollo Theater as part of a section on media bias. I asked what that made them think of the president.

“He’s cool.”


— John Robinson




How do North Carolina’s younger residents stand on President Obama?

One of the more striking results of the latest Elon University Poll is the distinct demarcation in North Carolina by age between those who approve of the job President Obama is doing and those who don’t.

In the 18-34 age group, 48 percent of North Carolinians approve of how Obama is handling the presidency and 38 percent disapprove. As people get older, their opinion changes. In the 35-54 group, 53 percent disapprove and only 42 percent approve. In the 55+, 50 percent disapprove and 45 approve.

Obviously, the younger demographic is important to the president. It helped him win in 2008, and he likely needs it in 2012. What are the issues those voters care about?

Interestingly, when it comes to his handling of the economy, the 18-35 set turns on the president, with 48 percent disapproving and 44 percent approving.

That could suggest that they are attracted to some of the president’s stands on “softer” issues — and it seems as if the Obama campaign knows it. Education, for instance. Or contraception. Or gay rights. And apparently younger, uncommitted voters are sick of the toxic political campaign.

But this support is soft, and it’s no certainty. Young voters as a group moved strongly to the left from 2000 to 2008, but there are indications they might not stay there. Polling suggests a Republican nominee would have a chance with them, but that will take some convincing.

It is tough to evaluate the president’s chances when there isn’t a Republican nominee. But it is clear that the enthusiasm that inspired so many younger voters to work for the Obama campaign is lacking right now.

— John Robinson