The 2012 Electorate Was Younger And Less Educated Than The 2010 Electorate


At the Washington Examiner, Conn Carol points out that if the 2012 election turnout had been more like the 2010 turnout Mitt Romney would have won:

If the same electorate that turned out to vote in 2010 had turned out to vote in 2012, then President Romney would be planning his inauguration as you read this column. But the electorate that showed up in 2012 was very different. It was much younger, much more diverse and significantly less educated.

Only 12 percent of the electorate were 18-29 in 2010, but they made up 19 percent of the electorate in 2012. And while whites made up 77 percent of the electorate in 2010, they made up just 72 percent of the electorate in 2012. The percentage of college-educated voters also fell, from 52 percent in 2010 to 47 percent in 2012.

So the electorate was younger, and had more black voters, than in 2010. That’s Obama’s mandate. So what do those votes want? More socialism, if a Pew Foundation study is to be believed:

The exit polls tell us they support Obama’s calls for higher taxes on the rich and a government that “should do more to solve problems.” But what else do they want? As the New York Times’ Thomas Edsall noted recently, both of these populations — the young and African-Americans — are far more supportive of socialism than the general population.

According to a December 2011 Pew Foundation study, while 60 percent of Americans view socialism negatively, a plurality of Americans ages 18 to 29 (49 percent to 43 percent) and a majority of African-Americans (55 percent to 36 percent) view socialism positively. Conversely, while a majority of Americans view capitalism positively (50 percent), again a plurality of Americans ages 18-29 (47 percent) and a majority of African-Americans (51 percent) view it negatively.

This is the battle line for conservatives.

There has been a lot of talk, since election day, about how conservatives better articulate their message. Some have said that it’s the “cool versus the uncool,” and that Democrats are winning because they’re cool.

There’s an element of truth in that, but I think it’s very confining to think of the problem in those terms. But going with it, I think what Democrats have succeeded at is making capitalism uncool. Profit is a dirty word. Big business is an inherently bad thing. “Fair” means equal outcomes, not equal opportunities.

To win, Republicans have to talk about the free market. They have to talk about opportunity, and how often government removes opportunity. Ron Paul, as misguided as he may have been in other areas, did a fantastic job of connecting with younger voters on issues of individual liberty and free markets.

That’s something for Republicans to emulate.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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