Political parties have their work cut out for them

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

That young people are more liberal than their parents may come as no surprise, but their attitude toward the war in Iraq may be.

According to a New York Times/CBS News/MTV poll, more than half of Americans 17-29 say they intend to vote for a Democrat for president in 2008, 62 percent say they would support a universal, government-sponsored national health care insurance program, 44 percent favor same-sex marriage and 87 percent oppose a draft -- which 42 percent believe is likely to be reinstated in the next few years and which two-thirds believe is more likely to be done by the Republicans.

But 51 percent thought the United States was likely to succeed in Iraq, higher than the 45 percent among all adults, and a majority didn't believe Americans would elect someone who had used cocaine -- such as Barak Obama has suggested he has -- or a Mormon -- such as Mitt Romney.

Some 43 percent hold an unfavorable view of Hillary Clinton, and 62 percent believe abortion should be available with greater restrictions or not permitted at all.

The Republican party has been in decline since Reagan years, when it attracted 59 percent of the youth vote in 1984, or even that of George H.W. Bush, who won 52 percent in 1988. That support has declined until only 25 percent of young voters identify themselves as Republicans.

Even the Democrats have their problems. In another survey, the Rasmussen poll, showed that while only about 30 percent of voters identify themselves as Republicans, those who call themselves Democrats has fallen to its lowest level in a year and a half, 37 percent.

Even so, it's a little early for independents to declare victory, such as the Constitution Party who noted that the number of Americans not affiliated with either major party has reached an all-time high of nearly 33 percent -- more than the number who call themselves Republicans.

Too early, as well, for success for candidates like Sen. Chuck Hagel or New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who have hinted at independent runs for president.

As long as Baby Boomers remain a viable political force, politicos will concentrate on pleasing that bulge in the demographics.

But clearly, the major parties have their work cut out for them if they want to stave off an independent groundswell in the future.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: