Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Bloglines - Among Young, Bush's Approval 20%

Drudge Retort
Red Meat for Yellow Dogs

Among Young, Bush's Approval 20%

Youth Give Bush Poor Grade, Hurting Republican Hopes, Poll Says
Aug. 7 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush's hopes of attracting a new generation of voters to the Republican Party may be fading

Younger Americans are far more critical of his job performance than the broader population.

A Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll of Americans age 18 to 24 found Bush's approval rating was 20 percent, with 53 percent disapproving and 28 percent with no opinion. That compares to a 40 percent approval rating among Americans of all ages in a separate Bloomberg/Times poll.

Much like Franklin Roosevelt attracted a new generation of voters with the New Deal, Bush and his administration have had high hopes of drawing younger voters to his party. He has sought to do that through policy initiatives aimed at creating an ``ownership society,'' and public relations tactics like a Youth Convention at the party's 2004 national convention, in which his twin daughters took the stage.

Among the initiatives aimed at drawing a new generation into the Republican fold are health-care savings accounts, elimination of the so-called marriage penalty in the U.S. tax code, and Bush's proposal to create private investment accounts from a portion of Social Security payroll taxes. `Younger Americans really want to see some leadership,'' Bush said last year as he launched his Social Security plan.

Instead, the Social Security initiative flopped in Congress after attracting criticism from the public and lawmakers of both parties, and health-care savings accounts haven't done much to expand coverage, with only about 1 percent of the U.S. population currently participating in them.

Social Issues

Bush's 2004 re-election strategy also may have damaged his party's standing with younger voters by stressing things intended to drive religious voters concerned about social issues to the ballot box, such as opposition to gay marriage.

``The very cultural issues the president wants to use to rally his party's base are exactly the issues that are alienating younger voters,'' said Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. ``Across a broad swath of social issues, younger Americans see the administration as being out of line with what they believe.''

The war in Iraq is also a major factor driving down public opinion among young voters, said Hans Riemer, political director at Rock the Vote, a group that works to get young people involved in civic life.

``Young people take it very personally,'' he said. ``They feel like it's their generation that's been asked to sacrifice.''

One poll participant, K.C. Chojnacki, an 18-year-old starting her first year in college, expressed those concerns in a follow-up interview. ``I disapprove mostly because I don't agree with the war,'' said Chojnacki, who is from Andover, Minnesota. ``We're going to have to deal with the repercussions, like having to pay for it.''


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