In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Young Voters' Approval Of Obama Historically High -- Can Dems Keep Them?


Bill Clinton's numbers actually showed no great variation, with a high of 57% among the 18-29 group, and 54% among the 50-64 cohort. George W. Bush showed some slight variation, with a low of 46% among the 18-29 group and a high of 52% with the 30-49 group.

Among Obama, though, the high is 66% among the 18-29 group, with a low of 51% among the 65+ group.

"We've always known that young people are more likely to identify as Democrats than Republicans, and that's been the case for while," Gallup managing editor Jeffrey M. Jones explained to TPMDC. "But you would expect to see more variation for the prior two presidents among the age groups than you do. So the relationship of being younger has been more Democratic, but we haven't had this variation for past presidents."

It's still unclear, though, whether this would be indicative of a longer-run trend of the current 18-29 cohort being solidly Democratic, or if it simply a matter of Obama's own appeal. "When he's gone, and the next president is in, we can establish a pattern there. It's still premature, but my own feeling is this is something specific to Obama," Jones explained, citing Obama's strong support among younger voters during the Democratic primaries, and the way he would consistently score better than Hillary Clinton among this group in general election polls against John McCain, while Clinton performed better than Obama among older voters.

"I think part of it might depend on how Obama does in office," said Jones. "If he does very well then I can definitely see people of this generation becoming solidly Democrats, because they'll not only have a figure that they like but, he'll have proven to be successful. But if he doesn't prove to be successful, maybe their hopes are dashed and they start to view Obama and the Democratic Party as being not very effective at trying to achieve the types of things that they would like to see the government do."