A Zogby/JZ Analytics poll Tuesday showed increased support among voters 18-29 for the Romney ticket, which pollster John Zogby attributed to the Ryan pick. President Obama received just 49 percent of the youth vote, versus Romney’s 41 percent. (Obama took home 66 percent of the youth vote against McCain in 2008.)
For those who think those numbers are an anomaly, take a look at Pew’s 2011 polling that found that among 18-29 year olds, 46 percent supported Ryan’s proposed Medicare changes with only 28 percent opposing (the rest had no opinion). Among 30-49 year olds it was 38 percent approving and 36 percent opposed. The strongest opposition to Ryan’s plan comes from those over 65, who ironically won’t even be affected by his plan since it would only apply to those 55 and under. Pew found that age, not party identification was the biggest predictor of how a person would feel about his plan.
Jon Cowan, the CEO of the centrist think tank Third Way told me, “Ryan is doing the country a huge service by putting this on the table.” Cowan is the former founder of Lead or Leave, a Gen X group that gained prominence in the 1990s as it rang the alarm bells for reducing the deficit and dealing with entitlements. He doesn’t believe Ryan’s plan is the best way to reform Medicare, though he concedes that it is a serious plan. He cautions that Democrats may find themselves in political peril in the next 10 years if they don’t come up with a substantive alternative plan. He says, “There are a lot of younger voters who say of the Ryan plan, ‘at least I get something… at least there is a plan’. If you don’t get in there and offer a plan you give up the high ground on policy.”
Yes, our expectations for government benefits when we retire have been lowered so much that the idea that we would get anything at all seems like a bonanza. Ryan’s plan also seems a lot less scary when you consider that his partner on it is the liberal Oregon Senator Ron Wyden.
I've always said that when we finally have a rich Mormon conservative running with a young extremist homophobe, the youth vote will flock to that ticket!