Tags: Barack Obama | Democrats | midterms | millennials | basement grads | vote

Hope Hits 'A Brick Wall' as 'Basement Grads' Abandon Democrats

By    |   Monday, 27 October 2014 01:15 PM

Barack Obama's message of hope and change was able to lure young voters to the polls in 2008 and 2012, but with rising unemployment and student debt, their hope has "hit a brick wall," says a top Democratic campaign adviser.

Jim Manley, a Democrat strategist and former spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, told The Hill that the "hope and change millennials invested in has hit a brick wall" and has left them "very cynical about the political process and less likely to vote than they had in the past."

That cynicism was reflected in a survey of young voters released in April by Harvard University's Institute of Politics that found "23 percent of Democrat-leaning millennials said they would vote in the midterm election," which was down from 31 percent who said that they would vote in the 2010 midterms.

Furthermore, the Harvard survey reported that 44 percent of Mitt Romney voters said they were "definitely voting," while just 35 percent of 2012 Obama voters expressed the same sentiment.

Along ideological lines, self-identified conservatives (32 percent) are 10 points more likely to vote than liberals (22 percent).

The disenfranchisement of millennial voters poses a particular challenge for Democrats, who are actively courting young voters.

More than a dozen Democratic House candidates are targeting millennials who have college degrees but are working low-wage jobs, the so-called "basement grads," with television ads focused on student loan debt, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal notes that Republicans are being targeted by outside groups in Arkansas, California, Georgia, and Iowa on the issue of college accessibility.

With Obama's unfavorable ratings at record highs, Democrats have called on a well-known surrogate — Bill Clinton, who remains popular among voters, including in southern states like Arkansas.

During a recent speech at the University of Arkansas, Clinton made a direct pitch and urged the audience to reject the politics of resentment.

"Why are all these people trying to get you to cast resentment votes? You're too young. You should be voting for what you're for … You should be voting for your dreams," said the former president, according to Politico.

While millennials may not be happy with Democrats, they remain more likely to vote for a Democratic candidate than a Republican.

In the midterm elections, 47 percent of likely millennial voters say they would vote for a Democrat, while 32 percent would vote for a Republican, according to a recent Fusion poll. An additional 21 percent said they were undecided.

Although millennials lean Democrat, they also tend not to vote in midterm elections.

Even those voters age 18-29 who have registered are not likely to participate in midterm elections, according to a June analysis by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE).

"There are many reasons, including differences in media coverage, the competitiveness of elections, and the intensity of voter outreach efforts. The drop in youth registration rates between a presidential election and the subsequent midterm election ranges from 7 to 12 percentage points," wrote CIRCLE Deputy Director Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg.

According to the CIRCLE analysis, the reason cited by one-third of respondents who were registered but did not vote in 2010 was that it conflicted with their work.

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Barack Obama's message of hope and change was able to lure young voters to the polls in 2008 and 2012, but with rising unemployment and student debt, their hope has "hit a brick wall," says a top Democrat campaign adviser.
Democrats, midterms, millennials, basement grads, vote, election
Monday, 27 October 2014 01:15 PM
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