Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.

Younger Voters and Political Ignorance  | e-mail post

In a post earlier today, I said in response to Joe Trippi's hope that younger voter turnout would put Kerry over the top:
I would agree with Joe's logic, however: if John Kerry wins then it will mostly likely have been due to younger (and yes, less informed) voters making it to the polls in droves on Tuesday. I don't think that's necessarily something to be pleased about.
Some people have contested the claim. While we have to wait until this years National Election Survey data to be available, if we look at the 2000 NES, you can see what I'm driving at. This is just a quick proxy for the real measure of an informed electorate, but this is the self-reported reponses to how often people follow government and public affairs:

Younger voters, as can be seen, don't follow these things as much as older voters (you kind of need to ignore the 91-97 year-old category, these people honestly have a lot more to worry about, like their mortality). In fact, about 65% of voters under 30 say they only keep up on cuttent events any more than "now and then," in contrast to a complete reveral of that number for the over 30 crowd, with 65% following events some or most of the time.

In the latter part of my post, "A Strange Arc From Juvenille Humor to a Serious Topic," I also discuss the issue of political ignorance in a more general manner. I don't want to beat up on the youth too much (I'm only 35 myself), because political igorance, while more pronounced among the youth, is a much broader social problem.

You can grind out your own numbers on the NES thanks to UCB. Thanks to Jay Cost for pointing the UC site out to me.

e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink]  |  | Monday, November 01, 2004
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