Wednesday, January 9, 2008


As my previous post pointed out, Obama has suceeded in doing what no candidate in recent memory has done: he has gotten the youth vote (meaning 18-24 year olds) out to the polls in numbers shockingly on par with senior citizens and baby boomers.

Specifically, the number of 18-24 year olds voting in the Dem primary was 11%, about the same percentage as 18-24 year olds amongst the statewide voting age population. By comparison, voters over 65 years old were slightly under-represented in the Dem primary (13% of the vote but 15% of the voting age population). The group that came out in the most overwhelming numbers was the Baby Boomers - 50-64 year olds, who made up 31% of the vote, but make up only a little over a quarter of the voting age population. So the real youth vote did just as well at showing up as the legendary senior citizen vote, but not as good as the highly mobilized Baby Boomer vote.

There was, however, one group predisposed to supporting Obama that barely showed up at all: Generation X, essentially voters between 25 and 39 years old. Combined, Generation X made up only 22% of the vote despite making up more than a quarter of the state's voting age population.

So the question, and the challenge for Obama is this: having awakened the youth vote, how do you awaken the still-dormant Generation X vote? How do you get a generation to the polls that largely grew up in a gilded age, in which the defining political moment was a President saying "that depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is"?