Young voter trends have fascinated me ever since the Obama-McCain bloodbath of 2008. As bleak as the statistics were two years ago, I've been building a case that Obama's youth landslide did not, and will not, guarantee permanent electoral or ideological doom for conservatives among Millenials.
Virginia offers a case in point. In 2008, voters 18-29 in Virginia backed Obama over McCain by a 21-point margin. One year later, the same cohort supported conservative Republican Bob McDonnell for Governor by ten points--a 31-point (D) to (R) swing.
Last week, the New York Times ran a piece describing younger voters' disenchantment with the Democratic Party. The lede captured the story's message:
The college vote is up for grabs this year — to an extent that would have seemed unlikely two years ago, when a generation of young people seemed to swoon over Barack Obama.
As the 2010 elections draw closer, some polls are vindicating the Times' report and my instincts. For instance, we recently noted Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul's enormous lead among the youngest age bracket, and a survey in liberal California offers some encouraging news for a top Republican statewide office-seeker.
Survey USA's poll of California voters conducted in late August and early September reveals a 7-point lead for Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman over Democrat Jerry Brown, and a narrow 2-point advantage for GOP Senate hopeful Carly Fiorina over incumbent Barbara Boxer.