February 25, 2010

AP Misses Likely Reason Why Pew Poll Shows ‘Millennials’ Abandoning the S.S. Obama and Dems

PewResearchLogo0210Earlier this afternoon, Tim Graham of NewsBusters noted how NPR’s Robert Siegel and Pew Research pollster Andrew Kohut spoke approvingly of “Millennials” as being “less ‘militaristic’ and less religious” than their elders.

At end of his post, Graham noted that Siegel and Kohut “somehow” forgot to discuss the key political finding in the poll, namely that the demographic’s 32-point favoritism towards Democrats (62% to 30%) has declined by more than half (to 54% to 40%) in just one year of living in Obamaland. Shoot, if that trend continues for another nine months, it will be almost all even by Election Day in November.

Why is the meltdown occurring? Get a load of the answers the Associated Press’s Hope Yen identified in an early Wednesday dispatch (HT to Mark Levin, who mentioned this on his Wednesday evening show):

Dem youth support waning amid gov’t gridlock

Whither the youth vote? A year after backing Barack Obama by an overwhelming 2-to-1 ratio, young adults are quickly cooling toward Democrats amid dissatisfaction over the lack of change in Washington and an escalating war in Afghanistan.

A study by the Pew Research Center, being released Wednesday, highlights the eroding support from 18-to-29 year olds whose strong turnout in November 2008 was touted by some demographers as the start of a new Democratic movement.

The findings are significant because they offer further proof that the diverse coalition of voters Obama cobbled together in 2008 – including high numbers of first-timers, minorities and youths – are not Democratic Party voters who can necessarily be counted on.

While young adults remain decidedly more liberal, the survey found the Democratic advantage among 18-to-29 year olds has substantially narrowed – from a record 62 percent identifying as Democrat vs. 30 percent for the GOP in 2008, down to 54 percent vs. 40 percent last December. It was the largest percentage point jump in those who identified or leaned Republican among all the voting age groups.

Young adults’ voting enthusiasm also crumbled.

So it’s all about gridlock and the war in Afghanistan? Give. Me. A. Break. To invoke James Carville from 1992, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Pew’s own report (a very big PDF) fails to support Yen’s yearnings, particularly this paragraph from Page 39 (page 46 of the PDF; bold is mine):

A Pew Research Center survey in 2006 found that half of all 18- to 29-year-olds were employed in full-time jobs. Then came the Great Recession. In our 2010 survey, as a battered economy struggles to rebound, about four-in-ten (41%) people in the same age group say they are working full time—a decline of 9 percentage points. In contrast, about the same proportion of older adults reported working full time in both the 2006 and 2010 surveys.

That statement would almost seem to indicate that Millennials have borne a very disproportionate share of the pain associated with the economy’s decline.

It’s interesting how Pew failed to reveal data more recent than four years ago that might have told us how much of the decrease in full-time employment has come more recently. What it looked like a year ago would tell us how much of the might be pegged to the overall economy, while a two- or three-year lookback would provide a clue as to how much of the decline is tied to federal and state increases in the minimum wage. Given that 2006 and 2007 were pretty decent years for the economy, it wouldn’t surprise me if almost all, all, or even more than all of that nine-point drop occurred in the past couple of years.

Yen waited until her 19th and final substantive paragraph to note the following:

About 37 percent of young adults are unemployed or out of the workforce, the highest share among this age group in more than three decades. A record share – 39.6 percent – was enrolled in college, and one in 8 millennials ages 22 and older say they had “boomeranged” back into their parents’ home because of the recession.

Regardless of initial political inclinations, that’s not a formula favoring whoever happens to be in power.

That certainly didn’t come through in the NPR interview Tim Graham cited, nor in Ms. Chen’s AP report. I’ll bet the folks at the DNC and RNC have figured it out anyway.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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1 Comment

  1. The 18 to 29 year olds in the first survey are not the same as those surveyed several years later. Likely a lot of the decline is explained by those 27 to 29 year olds that had jobs leaving the age cohort, and being replaced by new 18 to 20 year olds, and the new graduates not finding jobs upon graduation.

    New graduates, whether from high school, college, graduate, or professional schools, are always hit worse by a recession, since growth and new hiring slows down first, before actual layoffs. In addition, new graduates lack experience and are often last rehired, after those laid off but with experience are rehired. Certainly a minimum wage makes it even more difficult for those without experience to price themselves appropriately in competition to those with experience.

    Comment by John Thacker — February 25, 2010 @ 4:41 pm

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