It’s no surprise. Sen. Barack Obama is the clear leader when it comes to registered voters under 30. According to a USA Today/MTV/ Gallup Poll released yesterday, Obama beats out Sen. John McCain 61% to 32% among 18- to 28-year-olds.
McCain’s camp can’t deny Obama’s impact. “Sen. Obama clearly has some advantages with young voter,” said Michael DuHaime, political director for the McCain campaign, in a USA Today interview. Voters under 30 “are going to turn out in strong numbers,” he added.
His vast usage of social networks, blogs, and mobile marketing may have helped galvanize the support of young voters; but his translucent policy proposals, charisma, and air of freshness gave him staying power.
An overwhelming majority, 71%, say Obama understands the problems of people their age. He even outperformed McCain on a strong point among the mass constituency, garnering a 46% to 36% lead as a strong and decisive leader.
As for Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain’s spitfire running mate whose bursting star dimmed as quickly as it was ignited, she doesn’t fare much better. Even with all that maverick-ness, she couldn’t earn favor with young voters. According to the survey, 55% of respondents have concerns about her qualifications to step in as president if necessary.
McCain’s murky position the economy only adds his unpopularity with the age group. The top three issues that will be on the minds of young voters as they cast their ballots are the economy, the war in Iraq, and healthcare, much to my own surprise. Education came in a distant 7th, outranked even by taxes. The environment came in last.
The survey polled more than 29,000 respondents from a random sample of land line and cell phones –- a crucial method in reaching young people, as many opt for cell phones over land lines.
The challenge will be making sure the polls line up with the actual results on election night. As voter registration deadline approached for a majority of states yesterday, Democrats added 800,000 new voters while Republicans lost 300,000 in some battleground states (Colorado,