A new poll released today by the Harvard University Institute of Politics found that Barack Obama dominates among young voters who planned to vote in the Democratic Primary. Those aged 18-24 favored Obama over Clinton by a 70%-30% margin. Most interesting is that Obama leads McCain 53%-32% in a hypothetical general election matchup.
When matched up with McCain, Hillary Clinton does much worse than Obama among younger voters. Clinton leads McCain 44%-39%. There has been a big shift in the matchup between Clinton and Obama. When this same poll was done last fall Obama had a small 5% lead over Clinton 38%-33%. The youth vote not only went for Obama, but the Democratic Party has seen a youth explosion motivated by Obama’s candidacy.
The economy has replaced the Iraq war as the number one issue among these voters. Last fall 37% of those surveyed said that Iraq was the number one issue. Now the economy is the top issue for 30% of those asked, and the Iraq war is the top issue for 20% of respondents. Concern over healthcare has remained unchanged with 10% most concerned last fall, and 9% still listing it as their top issue today.
It is no surprise that young people support Obama, but it interesting that much of this youth support is Obama support, not Democratic support.
I think the Party needs to keep this in mind as they weigh arguments from the Clinton campaign that she should be the nominee. Younger people usually aren’t worried about healthcare, but for soon to be, or recent college graduates, this economy is brutal.
What we are seeing is a youth movement that has the potential to fundamentally change the face of the Democratic Party. I consider this poll more evidence of the ongoing generational battle for control of the Democratic Party.
Complete Poll Results: