Tom Edmonds, a GOP consultant interviewed here the other day, predicted that young voters would stay home on Election Day, which might allow John McCain to pull off an upset victory. The Financial Times has a story today looking at that question:
James Carville once famously said: “Show me a candidate who depends on the youth vote and I’ll show you a loser.” Historically, Bill Clinton’s election strategist was dead right, but the dictum may not apply this year. Just as the colour of his skin could conceivably deny Barack Obama the White House, the support of those under the age of 30 could put him there with room to spare.
There are 44m young Americans of the so-called “millennial generation” eligible to vote – about 21 per cent of the electorate. But it is not easy to get a handle on how many of them will cast a ballot. The Student Public Interest Research Group, an activist organisation, has gone so far as to predict a 70 per cent turnout, compared with just under 50 per cent of 2004. That may be high, but polls by Gallup and others all suggest it will split at least 60-40 in Barack Obama’s favour.