ANGRY OLD WHITE PEOPLE ... AND REAGAN YOUTH?
I haven't made a habit of checking the Daily Kos/Research 2000 polls, but this one jumped out at me.
Oliver Willis and AlterNet's Joshua Holland flagged it because it shows that Barack Obama's personal favorability is 60-84% in every region of the country except the South ... where it's, um, 28%. (Gee, wonder why that is....)
But I'm struck by some other discrepancies in the poll -- age discrepancies. In virtually every part of the poll (this part is no real surprise), people 60 and over are less supportive of Obama and the Democrats (Obama had trouble with older voters in last year's election, and they have good health care, so they're not comfortable with change on that score). But the other group that has soured on Obama and the Dems is the 30-44 group.
Broken down by age group, here's what people think of the Democratic Party (reading across: favorable, unfavorable, no opinion):
And the Republican Party:
And Nancy Pelosi:
The 30-44-year-olds are much more right-leaning than the group just younger and the group just older.
This is evident in virtually every question. And if you go to the poll page and keep clicking "Previous," and you'll see this has been true for months.
This defies the conventional wisdom, which says that Obama is very popular except in Dixie and among the Caucasian elderly.
I see the 30-44-year-olds as Reagan youth. They were impressionable schoolkids when Bonzo roamed the earth, cheerfully castigating government. They sat in class and watched him eulogize the Challenger astronauts. The Kos poll suggests they're still Reaganites.
It might be that, or possibly it's that they're in the prime age group to feel thoroughly betrayed by the economic downturn -- twentysomethings didn't have much to lose before the collapse, while many of the middle-aged have more resources to fall back on. But I'm not sure it would work that way. As a middle-aged guy myself, I feel I have further to fall -- if I lose my job while the fat cats get fatter, I'm going to feel very, very betrayed.
I think the Reaganism these kids imbibed with their school-lunch ketchup really took. I think the guy who made government America's #1 scapegoat -- the Goldstein in our national Two Minutes' Hates -- is still whispering to these now-grown children from beyond the grave.