Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Younger Voters Turning Against Obama

Political cynicism is on the rise among young voters, and they’re directing it at President Obama and government in general. According to a spring Harvard Institute of Politics poll, and today’s New York Times report, 18 to 24-year-olds are far less likely to support President Obama than 25 to 29-year-olds, and they’re more likely to hold conservative tendencies:

Polls show that Americans under 30 are still inclined to support Mr. Obama by a wide margin. But the president may face a particular challenge among voters ages 18 to 24. In that group, his lead over Mitt Romney — 12 points — is about half of what it is among 25- to 29-year-olds, according to an online survey this spring by the Harvard Institute of Politics. And among whites in the younger group, Mr. Obama’s lead vanishes altogether.

There is also a libertarian streak among the youngest voters that isn’t as apparent in the slightly older group:

Today, specifically, the youngest potential voters are more likely than their older peers to think it is important to protect individual liberties from government, the Harvard data suggest, and less likely to think it is important to tackle things like climate change, health care or immigration.

Mr. Tevlin, for instance, found the Supreme Court ruling upholding Mr. Obama’s health care law troubling.

“I don’t think the government should force you to buy anything,” he said.

The Times seems to blame the economy for this rise in libertarian sentiment, but there could be other causes. Due to the internet, smart phones, and other technology, youngest voters grew up in a culture that placed increasing emphasis on the individual. That could certainly have contributed to their more libertarian outlook, and gives Republicans an opening to reach out to these younger voters.