Conventional wisdom has it that young people energized by Barack Obama will sweep him to victory in November. But not so fast, Paul Maslin writes on Salon. It’s possible the big youth surge already happened in 2004, when turnout among 18-to-24-year-olds jumped from 2000’s dismal 32.4% to 41.9%—even as overall turnout declined.
John Kerry carried the youth vote by 9%, but it still made up just a tiny portion of his support. Howard Dean's youth movement backfired when older Iowans decided they didn’t trust the Deaniacs. But if Obama can improve Kerry’s margin to, say, 15%, and turnout jumps significantly, the youth vote could add 2% to Obama’s national total, which “ain’t bubkes.”