Demos just released new comprehensive polling about the opinion of young adults. Politically the most interesting data point that stuck out for me is their finding that an overwhelmingly 68 percent of young people say it is harder for them to make ends meet now than it was four years ago. From the poll results:
- Sixty-eight percent of young Americans believe that it has become harder to make ends meet over the past four years, since the economic and financial crisis began.
- Latinos feel the shift more acutely; 78 percent report that it has become harder or much harder to make ends meet. Sixty-nine percent of whites and 66 percent of males agree.
Regular peoples’ answer to the basic question “are you better off than you were four years ago?” is one of the most important determining factors for an incumbent president’s re-election prospects. The answer is especially important this cycle given that economic issues have been the dominate concerns of voters. Among young voters the answer to whether they’re better off is currently an overwhelming NO.
This poll should be extremely concerning to Obama’s campaign. He depended on high turnout among young voters and Latinos to make up a large part of his winning coalition in 2008.
The uncomfortable reality for the Obama campaign is that if most young people feel their economic standing has gotten worse under his tenure, it’s going to be very hard to get young voter excited about ensuring Obama runs the country for another four years.