The youth surge

Obama is doing well with the under-30 set and, increasingly, with voters even older than that.

Published September 29, 2008 3:54PM (EDT)

Barack Obama has consisently led among voters ages 18 to 29. No news there. This is the only age cohort that John Kerry won four years ago.

But what we’re seeing now are related movements.

First, there’s a new poll out from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner showing that Obama is making headway among young evangelicals. “Young evangelical Christians are less likely to support [John] McCain’s candidacy,” says the poll summary. “McCain still wins young evangelicals overall, but the margin closes to 62-30 McCain among white evangelicals under age 30 compared to 73-22 McCain among those over the age of 30.”

Second, Obama is doing better among voters from older age cohorts. If you look at the weekly summaries from Gallup by age group, here, you see that Obama is not really moving people over 65, but making progress with 30-to-49-year-olds and even 50-to-64-year-olds.

This is not only going to be a once-in-a-generation election. If Obama wins, it is going to the generational sea change election about which Democrats chatter every four years, but somehow never seems to materialize.

By Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

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