Biden Has a Big Problem With Younger Voters

David Brooks is worried about lack of enthusiasm, potential trouble at convention
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2024 12:50 PM CDT
Biden Has a Big Problem With Younger Voters
President Biden speaks about reproductive freedom on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

David Brooks says he still thinks President Biden is the Democrats' strongest candidate for president, but he's getting more pessimistic about his chances of beating Donald Trump in November. For starters, Brooks writes at the New York Times, many voters simply prefer Republicans "on key issues like inflation and immigration." But Biden also has a big problem with young voters, Brooks writes. He cites a recent NBC News poll that found only 64% of voters are highly interested in the election, down from 77% in 2020—and among voters 18 to 34, the figure is just 36%.

That might be partly due to the advanced age of both candidates, Brooks writes, but "part of it is also about Biden's approach to the Israel-Hamas war," which has been more strongly criticized by young people than other groups. "I think what we're seeing at Columbia and on other elite campuses is a precursor to what we're going to see at the Democratic convention in Chicago," writes Brooks. He characterizes the clashes between police and leftist protesters at the 1968 Democratic convention as an "early marker of the differences between the more-educated and less-educated classes. They were part of the trend that sent working-class voters to the GOP."

If there are similar clashes at the August convention, "the chaos will reinforce Trump's core law-and-order message," Brooks writes. "It will make Biden look weak and hapless." Click for his full piece. The NBC poll found that Biden and Trump are "essentially tied" among voters 18 to 34, with Biden at 44% and Trump at 43%. Biden's problem with younger Americans isn't just about Gaza, writes Philip Bump at the Washington Post. He notes that YouGov polling of registered voters going back to 2021 shows big swings in support for Biden among younger voters—but Gallup polling of all Americans shows younger people "are consistently less approving of Biden than Americans overall." (More Election 2024 stories.)

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