The Dog Ate My Ballot, or, Why Obama May Not Deliver

Obama has created a lot of excitement among young people. On Tuesday, young people waiving Obama signs were all over the Berkeley campus and downtown San Francisco. Hillary’s supporters were rarely seen, it seemed.

You’ll note that I didn’t call these supporters “young voters.”


Because young people don’t vote. What’s my evidence of this (well-established) rule?

Even Obama Girl, the young woman who has spent the last year making videos about Obama’s campaign, didn’t vote! So sad.


  1. No one cares anyway. Don’t ever use a computer again.

  2. I saw some dreadlocks wearing hippies vote on Tuesday. They didn’t look old.

    Maybe that’s the future.

  3. Christine O’Connell

    You’re only young and stupid once

  4. Any excitement on the UVA campus?

  5. Chris, the plural of anecdote is not data (honestly, the “evidence” you cite is pretty facile – are you serious or just being facetious?)

    For actual youth voter turnout, you may want to take a look at CIRCLE’s numbers:

    It looks like in many areas, including CA, youth voter turnout has increased significantly (almost 50% in CA, tripling in Georgia and other states)

    Table 3 here shows that they are favoring Obama by a very large margin:

    As for support in Berkeley and SF, you might be interested to see that Obama took both Alameda and San Francisco counties:

    I think what people were surprised about in Iowa and onward is that unlike previous candidates like Dean, young Obama supporters *have* been turning up in the voting booth. I’m betting that’ll make a difference, both in this, and future elections.

  6. For a science blog, your evidence (Clinton winning California despite “young people waiving Obama signs were all over the Berkeley campus and downtown San Francisco” and the Obama girl) is pretty thin.

  7. There always seems to be a lot of energy around “youth” candidates. But the youth vote rarely delivers. There is a lot of excitement around rallies and events – but the follow through seems to be lacking. Where is my evidence?

    The youth heavy campaigns of John Anderson, Howard Dean, McCain 2000, and Ron Paul 2008.

    Obama’s difference seems to be the “I’m not Hillary” mantra. Both senators seem equally unqualified and yet Obama promises much more optimism.

    The young simply don’t vote.

  8. Defeated candidates sometimes leave a prolonged aftershock … I’d suggest Barry Goldwater and Eugene MCarthy are two.

    I’ve been wondering about Obama’s experience… it is true, if he becomes President, he will be the most inexperienced Chief Executive ever. On the other hand, Warren G. Harding and James Buchanan were highly experienced, as was G.W.Bush.

    The best counterexample I can think of where an inexperienced newcomer did ok comes from Europe. When Tony Blair and the British Labour Party won the General Election in 1997, neither he nor any member of his cabinet had any Government experience whatsoever. This probably could not happen in the US; it was the consequence of the British system and the long run of victories for the Tories led by Margaret Thatcher and John Major.

    Blair did not do too badly; he settled Northern Ireland and led an economic revival. His big blunder was to follow G.W. into Iraq for which he may never be forgiven. But that was not down to his (lack of) experience.

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