NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 26, 2005

In his recent acceptance speech, Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee remarked, "We know that we're the party for young Americans looking for a government that speaks to them." Well, not really, says attorney Vahe Tazian.

In fact, Dean may want to do himself and his party a favor and examine the recent voting trend of young Americans, those 18 to 29 years old.

A growing number of American youth are defying the traditional stereotype of being young and liberal:

  • In the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections, just more than 35 percent of young voters sided with the GOP candidates; however, in 2000, George W. Bush received 46 percent of the youth vote compared with Al Gore's 48 percent, according to the Washington Post.
  • And in 2004, Bush collected 44 percent of the youth vote compared with John Kerry's 54 percent, which was much higher than some analysts forecast.
  • For first-time voters under 30 in 2004, almost as many represented themselves as liberal as conservative, according to CBS News, with 38 percent Democrat, 35 percent Republican and 28 percent independent.
  • Furthermore, a survey by the Pew Research Center, which examined partisan trends from 1997-2003, revealed a net two percent decline in young Democratic voters.

The rise in more young voters leaning conservative is not a coincidence. A constructive, issue-oriented debate has long been lacking in the Democratic Party, says Tazian. Simultaneously, Republicans have proposed new ideas and offered better solutions to various problems.

In his re-election campaign and early in his second term, Bush has outlined issues that are of vital importance to young voters, namely, reform of the Social Security system, an affordable college education and the creation of well-paying jobs, says Tazian.

Source: Vahe Tazian, "Democrats no longer have a lock on voters under 30," Detroit News, May 24, 2005.


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