CNN tackles the topic of marijuana legalization following the release of a Pew Research poll showing 52 percent of Americans in favor of making pot legal. Jason Johnson discusses the issue with Republican strategist Ana Navarro.
Hiram College professor Jason Johnson was interviewed by National Public Radio’s Ari Shapiro for a story on Morning Edition about young voters and the 2012 election. Johnson also discussed the findings of the recent “Listening to Young Voters” poll released by the Garfield Institute of Public Leadership.
SHARPIRO: The answer is, they’re not supporting the president as much as they used to. Many polls show that Mr. Obama has about 10 percent less support among young voters than he did last time, and over the last six months his numbers have been dropping in this group, says Jason Johnson, a political scientist at Hiram College in Ohio.
JASON JOHNSON: The bad news for Mitt Romney is these numbers haven’t necessarily improved his standing amongst young voters. It’s just led to more young voters saying that they’re undecided and they aren’t sure, which may mean they’re persuadable, or it might mean they’re just holding out and eventually they’re going to go back to Obama in November.
SHARPIRO: Or they could just stay home altogether. So to keep them engaged and win over the persuadables, both sides are revving up their efforts. It’s not just about winning this round. People’s voting patterns take shape early in life, and almost 17 million people have become old enough to vote since 2008.
Click here to listen to the entire story on Morning Edition: Romney Wants Young Voters To Give Up On Obama.
The Garfield Institute for Public Leadership at Hiram College released its most recent poll in its ongoing “Listening to Young Voters” initiative. The poll found President Barack Obama leading former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney 50 to 37 percent among young voters ages 18 to 29 years old.
Hiram College professor Jason Johnson discussed the poll with the Cleveland Plain Dealer for the story “Young voters still favor President Obama, but support has eroded, poll finds“:
Political Scientist Jason Johnson, who heads the college’s year-long “Listening to Young Voters” project, says young voters are disappointed that Obama hasn’t solved nation’s problems over the past four years, but aren’t convinced that Romney will do any better.
He anticipates the lack of enthusiasm will depress that group’s high voter participation from 2008. The 22 million young voters who showed up at the polls that year represented the third highest turnout in that demographic since 1972, when the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18, a Tufts University analysis found.
“Young people are not going to turn out with the same level of enthusiasm as they did in 2008,” says Johnson, whose poll of 600 registered voters conducted between June 5 and 12 had a 4 percent margin of error. “When they see these two options side by side, they are not thrilled.”
Candidate Barack Obama was so popular during the 2008 presidential election that people were fainting at his speeches, he was more popular that David Hasselhoff when he gave a speech in Germany, and pictures of him ripping open his shirt with a red, white and blue “O” on his chest was seen as inspiring not ironic.
Nowhere was this feverish popularity more evident than in his support amongst young and first time voters, many of whom believed that an Obama presidency would change Washington, change America and send the nation off into a bright new future.
But, it’s amazing how a little recession will take the shine off a super-hero turned president. According to the newly released Garfield Institute Young Voter’s Survey Obama may be winning the overall economic argument – but his young supporters are increasingly skeptical.
The Garfield Institute for Public Leadership is a research arm of Hiram College, who funded the survey and plans on conducting at least one more young voter survey before the election. While there are various colleges around the country that conduct polls during election years, from Marist to Quinnipiac, the Hiram College survey is unique in its dogged focus on millennial voters (18-30).
Millennial voters were seen as a key to Obama’s voting strength in 2008, not so much because of their turnout (2008 was the third highest turnout of young voters in the last 40 years), but because they formed an amazing volunteer army for Obama the candidate. However, the recession has hit this group of voters in challenging ways and their faith in Obama or either party for that matter on major economic issues is starting to waver.
When it comes to questions like “Best Understands the Problems of People Under 30” and “Will make education affordable” Obama is running laps around Mitt Romney, and has been since the first Young Voter’s Survey in January 2012.
However, in the two areas where Mitt Romney does beat out the president, “Making American competitive with other countries” and “Lowering the Budget deficit” Mitt Romney is the strong choice of young voters. Overall this seems to bode well for the president although a deeper look into the numbers does provide some interesting revelations.
Independent voters are much more likely to side with Romney on the issues where he is strongest and are somewhat lukewarm with Obama on his ability to truly turn this economy around. What’s worse though is that when asked which candidate has a better chance of strengthening the economy and creating more jobs Romney beats Obama 48% to 44% amongst DEMOCRATIC voters.
To the degree that young voters will vote their pocketbooks this fall, Obama has some serious ground to make up if he hopes to stay in the White House.
Over the coming week we will be providing more analysis from the Garfield Institute Young Voter’s Survey. To see the results in their entirety click on the Hiram College Garfield Institute website or see below:
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.
Earlier this week there was a piece over at Politico about Obama’s poll numbers with Hispanics.
Surprise: he’s not doing too well! His approval rating is in the 40’s! The extended recession had made Latinos more cynical!
None of this was news and despite the fact that a couple of other political news outlets ran with the Lake Research story on Latinos I refused to bite.
Shouldn’t diminishing excitement from Latino voters be the hottest story on the political presses a year out from what is likely going to be an incredibly tough election? No, it shouldn’t and last night’s Republican debate is the main reason why.
All polls are not created equal and polling about the president always has to be viewed in context. Meaning, it really doesn’t matter that much if his approval ratings amongst Latinos drops unless there is an equal shift in support in favor of the Republican Party – or, more specifically, a Republican candidate.
When you look at last night’s GOP debate on National Security no Democrat should be all that concerned about where the Latino vote will go. A significant portion of the debate was focused on immigration as a national security issue. That in and of itself is one of the reasons why the GOP continues to get the side-eye from Latinos.
Most Democrats and Independents consider immigration to be a domestic policy or an economics issues, and when Mexican immigrants coming into the U.S. is linked with the notion of threat, which is inherent when it’s mentioned in the context of national security, it brings forth a whole bunch of other racial and social bugaboos that make Latino voters nervous. Consider this: The Biggest story from last night’s debate was Newt suggesting that dragging every single illegal back to Mexico might not be the wisest thing for the party to do. Rick Perry got gutted for saying something similar a few months back, and tongues are wagging today as to whether Gingrich will face any blowback for his stance.
This is the inherent GOP problem with Latino voters. When there are serious political consequences for suggesting that splitting up families that have been living in America for 20 years is not a good idea, your primary constituency and your general election constituency clearly do not see eye to eye. So, bring on more bad polling for Obama, it may eventually cut into the turnout levels for him in crucial swing states but when it comes to actual Latinos going to the polls to support him, the GOP doesn’t seem to have much to offer just yet.
This article originally appeared online at Politic365.com.