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Q-Poll: Young voters trust congressional Republicans on key issues more than Obama

Written by . Posted in 2014 Campaigns, 2016 Campaigns, Polling

Published on November 12, 2013

This new Quinnipiac poll is the sort of thing that keeps a politician up at night. Not President Obama — who never has to stand for an election again — but everybody in his party who does next year:

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 That 15-point approval deficit is Obama’s worst so far in the Q-Poll. He’s getting into Post-Katrina Bush territory. Actually, he’s doing slightly worse, if you look at the same point in Bush’s presidency:

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What’s more, Obama isn’t just losing popularity — he’s losing what everyone talks about as his base. Note that with voters under age 29, whose political beliefs and voting habits are being shaped right now, he’s actually 18 points underwater. (More on this in a minute.) Obama is underwater with women by 11 points. He’s underwater with Hispanic voters by six points.

President Obama is also getting thrashed on a variety of issues, including traditionally democratic ones like immigration and health care.

American voters say 53 – 43 percent that the Obama Administration has not been competent running the government. By a similar 51 – 43 percent margin, voters say Obama is not paying enough attention to what his administration is doing.

Obama gets a positive 52 – 42 percent approval rating for handling terrorism, with negative grades for handling other issues:

38 – 53 percent on foreign policy;
35 – 53 percent on immigration;
32 – 62 percent on the federal budget;
36 – 60 percent on health care;
38 – 59 percent on the economy.

Republicans are obviously not doing so great right now either. People like to point to high levels of party disapproval, but let’s put things in perspective for a moment. Whom do people trust more to handle the following issues? 

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And here’s something that might throw you for a loop: Let’s look at how the age 18-29 crowd answers each of these — whom do the young folk trust more to handle….

                     Obama  Reps in Congress

Health care          41     46
The economy          39     49
Immigration issues   41     42
The federal budget   41     44

The young, by and large, hold opinions almost indistinguishable from those of the median voter at a time when the latter is quite sour on Obama.

Think about it for a moment — not just through a 2014 prism, but beyond that. The Democrats have been full of crowing triumphalism over the demographic explosion they’re expecting — and part of their hope involves taking the young vote for granted. What if they’re just wrong in assuming that any other Democrat is capable of exciting the young the way Obama did in two successive elections?

Even worse, what if this poll is just one more sign that the young are learning lasting lessons about big government that will affect their thinking for decades to come? What if they’re even more frustrated by the outcomes of the Obama era than your average American? You probably noticed that in Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli (yeah, the big social issues guy) won young voters, according to the exit polls. Currently, Obama fares better with the 30-49 crowd (his best demo) than he does with the younger set.   

It’s a separate issue, but a related one, that Democrats take their ability to dominate the black and Hispanic vote for granted — and they expect to reap a windfall as young Hispanics age and increase their share. When I say dominate, I mean they expect to win the black vote by about 80 points and the Hispanic vote by more than 30 on a consistent basis even when Obama’s not on the ballot — usque in aeternum.

As I’ve said before, I think that’s pretty optimistic of them. But that’s their deus ex machina. Take away that assumption, and their future probably rests on the decision of just one woman who will be 69 on the day of election 2016.

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