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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Branch of the Linden is Leafy and Green

This column, by Arthur C. Brooks, which appeared in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, has attracted a lot of attention from the blogosphere. Professor Brooks writes:
Simply put, liberals have a big baby problem: They're not having enough of them, they haven't for a long time, and their pool of potential new voters is suffering as a result. According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That's a "fertility gap" of 41%. Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections. Over the past 30 years this gap has not been below 20%--explaining, to a large extent, the current ineffectiveness of liberal youth voter campaigns today.

(entire column here)

Does this mean that we'll be ruled by social conservatives in our old age, as these Republican children reach maturity? I'm skeptical.

If this trend has been going on for the past thirty years, that would mean that voters under the age of thirty would tend to vote Republican, right?

Well, most polls indicate just the opposite. A George Washington University poll of 18-30 year olds found that "...more young voters say they are Democrat than Republican (39% to 31%)." A Pew Research Center poll released earlier this month found 18- to 29-year-old voters to be less likely than their older counterparts to hold conservative opinions on social and cultural issues. In 2004, CNN's exit poll found that 56% of voters under the age of 30 voted for John Kerry.

As these youngsters age, and vote in greater numbers, I don't think they'll give the Democrats too much to worry about.


Blogger Ben said...

Soooo there's a hereditary liberal gene? I'd argue that people within families often have widely diverging political opinions and that younger family members (among the middle class anyways) may tend toward being more idealistic and socially liberal, while relying more on state supprt financially (student loans, etc...) thus trending Democratic. Older and wealthier folks with more to protect might rend more towards Republican. Am I crazy for thinking that? I mean one could argue that this would mean that children born to people who voted for Hitler would vote Nazi to this day...

Also - here's an intensely stupid article I saw on FARK...

8:11 PM, September 16, 2006  

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