As I've been watching the endless recycling of stale news as I await either a definitive count or a concession by Kerry, I've heard a lot about how disappointing the young voter turnout supposedly was. Apparently, approximately the same percentage of the vote, about 17%, was under 25. Kerry supporters are shaking their heads and wondering how they failed to get young people involved and motivated. They thought that a high turnout of young people would hand Kerry the presidency on a silver platter. What happened?
Well, I think the Kerry campaign did get young people to vote in impressive numbers, however, the Bush campaign managed to get other disaffected citizens to vote, such as Evangelical Christians. My guess is that voter turnout was up across the board and as a result, high youth turnout was obscured. I think a lot of people underestimated the number of older citizens who did not vote in 2000 but were motivated to vote this year. I'll be very interested to see the demographic breakdowns once the dust settles. I think we'll find that while focusing on getting young people to "rock the vote", the Democratic Party lost touch with the rest of the country. Furthermore, a lot of the young people Kerry inspired to vote may have voted against him. Maybe we'll find that young people aren't so overwhelmingly liberal as we thought.