Thursday, April 26, 2012

What apathy?

Along the lines of the story I mentioned the other day in which a writer claimed that there was no enthusiasm for Obama while providing evidence to the contrary, here's a story in the American Prospect claiming young voters are apathetic compared to how they were in 2008, entitled "Young, Restless, and Not Voting." Note that the entire premise of the story hangs on the following piece of data:
According to a poll released late last week, 61 percent of college-age Millennials (the futuristic-sounding name given to the generation born in the late 1980s and early 1990s) are registered to vote, but only 46 percent say that they will likely do so in November. By way of comparison, in 2008, 58.5 percent of the same age group was registered to vote, and 48 percent of them actually did.
Go ahead, read it again. Okay, let's sum up. Voter registration is higher today among this age group than it was four years ago. And 46 percent claim they will vote in November -- just two percentage points shy of the allegedly staggering 48 percent that voted four years ago. The poll on which that 46% figure was based, by the way, has a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points (it says so on p. 40). In other words, predicted voter turnout among young voters this year is statistically identical to actual voter turnout four years ago.

The rest of the article goes on to try to offer some rationale for why this trend that isn't actually occurring is occurring.

I certainly understand the desire to force findings into a theory, even if they don't fit perfectly, but here the evidence is precisely the opposite of the narrative. Maybe we could change the narrative?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember the Onion headline after the 2008 election: "Youth Totally Meant To Vote In Record Numbers." But that was a joke....

Anonymous said...

Math is hard, words are easy.

Anonymous said...

So, 48% of the 58.5% that were registered actually voted, which means 28% of the overall total voted. And 46% of 61% equals...28%.

dmarks said...

Registration to vote does not equate to intent or actual voting.