Washington- Younger voters turned out in higher numbers in Tuesday's US congressional elections, giving a lift to Democratic candidates in a contest that gave the party control of the US House of Representatives for the first time in 12 years. "This is a new generation," Hans Riemer, political director of Rock the Vote, an organization that seeks to mobilize young voters, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. "They're more involved, more engaged, and less cynical."Long, protracted wars with dubious rational and illusive benefits often bring out voters of military age, but I don't really think that's what's going on here. Yes, a larger proportion of young people are opposed to the war than the population at large, but that is a reflection of the ideology, not self preservation. (This would change quickly if the draft were to return.) I think that my generation, people 18-29, reject much of the GOP's social agenda as well as the devisive politics that use that agenda.
Exit polls showed that voters between the ages of 18 and 29 cast 13 per cent of all votes, up from 11 per cent in the 2002 elections, the last non-presidential national election. Voter turnout is typically higher in presidential elections.
That increase is important because the proportion of young voters has become smaller in the same time period, causing the increase to outpace the growth in turnout among all voters, Rock the Vote said.
Young voters traditionally favour Democratic candidates and did so by a 22 point margin on Tuesday, the organization said, citing exit polls.
Jonathan Rauch at ReasonOnline explains:
A March Los Angeles Times poll finds that more than 80 percent of young people (ages 18 to 29) favor anti-discrimination protections for gay people. More than 70 percent believe gays should receive the same kinds of civil-rights protections that are afforded to racial minorities and women. More than half favor gay adoption, three-fourths believe that "a gay person can be a good role model for a child," and more than 70 percent can "accept two men or two women living together like a married couple." Seventy percent describe themselves as sympathetic to the gay community (versus 43 percent of people 65 and older). And three-fourths support gay marriage or civil unions—with the plurality favoring marriage.That's my generation's standing on just one of the GOP's bugaboos. Young people are also less religious than previous generations. Only 27% of people 18-34 describe themselves as 'religious' - the lowest among any demographic. Almost one in four in the same age group call themselves 'secular' or 'somewhat secular,' also topping all other groups. The fastest growing religion in America is Wicca. The number of Americans who claim no religion has doubled since 1990.
Young people are more likely to be pro-environment and to believe that government has a responsibility to regulate business and help the disadvantaged.
More than half of young people self identify as Democrats.
People in their 40s had the Reagan Revolution as their formative Republican experience. People in their 30s saw Newt Gingrich bring the GOP to power.
My generation has the disastrous presidency of George W. Bush as our only model of Republicanism. Endless war, lies, bigotry, hate, scandal, corruption, and bitter, divisive politics has not and will not endear the GOP to my generation. Like Americans in their 50s (who had the Nixon administration to form their first ideas about Republicans) my generation will probably carry our party identification with us for the rest of our lives. (See the chart above.)
I'm not saying that as my generation makes its way into office that it will usher in an age of Democratic dominance, but it will change the nature of the debate.
Generation Y Politics Social Issues Democrats Republicans