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   Electoral Arithmetic: Won't Somebody Please Think of the Children?

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4/29/2008 8:00 am

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Entered 4/29/2008, Updated 4/29/2008

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image://blog.prospect.org/blog/weblog/partyID_youth.gif Back in 2004, there was a lot of talk about getting out the youth vote with the implicit assumption being that young people automatically vote for Democrats. It's true that younger people do tend to vote Democratic, but only marginally so, and hardly in numbers that could easily decide an election. Now from Pew, we're seeing that this might be changing, and changing big. In 2004, Democrats only held an 11-point advantage over Republicans in party ID. By 2008, that figure has shot to 25 points. To put another way, in 2004 54 percent of 18-29 year-olds voted for Kerry, 45 percent for Bush. That's within 4 points of the party ID figures. In 2004, 18-29 year-olds made up 17 percent of the voting population, casting over 20 million votes, 11 million of which went to Kerry. Now, if we assume that 18-29 year olds make up the same percentage of the population in 2008 as they did in 2004, and give them a seven point bump, then that means 61 percent of 18-29 year-olds will vote Democratic, netting over 12 million votes. What does an additional 1 million votes get you? If this were the 2004 election, all else being equal, that's brings the popular vote to within 1-1.5 percentage points instead of 3. I'd call that significant.


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