A CBSNews/New York Times poll conducted in mid-September found that only half the 18-29 year olds are registered to vote and just 55 percent of them say they will definitely vote in 2010. Moreover, a mere 15 percent of young people say they are paying “a lot of attention” to the election. By comparison, 84 percent of voters over 64 say they will definitely vote, and 50 percent say they are paying a lot of attention to the election.One is tempted to think that if only more young people would vote, the Democrats would have it made. But the young people who say they favor Democrats also aren't paying attention. They have to get interested before they'll be motivated to vote, and we don't know what they'd think after they paid attention.
Whereas young people favor Democrats by as much as 10 to 20 percentage points in most polls, among seniors, the most reliable of voters, Republicans hold an 11 point advantage over the Democrats.
It's not surprising that young people who are floating along on the political periphery will say "Democrat" when asked which party they favor. What have they been paying attention to? Their teachers? Their friends? Presumably a lot of young people are for the good things the Democrats are supposed to be for. And so many nice celebrities seem to be Democrats. And there are those friends who go cold and sneer at the suggestion that anyone is an evil Republican.
When you're young, usually you want to get along. You want to be liked. But do you care about politics? Do you really know who to vote for? Apparently not, or you'd vote.
Now, if these young people got around to paying attention and studying the issues to the point where they really were interested and motivated to vote, would they still be Democrats? Would they still be young?