Dems Suffer Without Young Voters of Color Who Stole the ‘08 Show
Jamilah King, Colorlines, November 3, 2010
Today, as Democrats are solemnly tallying up their losses, there’s one inescapable fact about what the midterm electorate looked like: it was overwhelmingly whiter and older than 2008. The questions for President Obama now are what happened to the energetic base of young voters of color who thrusted him to power in 2008? And what will it take to bring them back into his party’s fold before 2012?
According to exit polls’ early tabulation, people under the age of 29 accounted for only 11 percent of voters on Tuesday, a decrease from the 18 percent mark of 2008. More than 20 percent of voters who showed up at the polls this time were over the age of 65, a marked increase from the 15 percent who showed up on Election Day in 2008. These numbers may shift as more data becomes available, but the larger picture is clear: The youth wave of 2008 receded.
Granted, it’s dangerous to compare presidential elections to midterms. Voter turnout is always much lower. The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) released a report this morning arguing that exit poll numbers aren’t really that bad, when taken into context. The group estimates that the youth voter turnout in 2010 was only three percentage points lower than in 2006. But to many observers, the numbers still suggest Democrats are widely underestimating the importance of one of its key constituencies. (Read the full article)