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What will it take to get young voters excited again?
July 17th, 2012
03:26 PM ET

What will it take to get young voters excited again?

By CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Young voters are not nearly as excited about this presidential election, and that could doom Pres. Obama's chances for a second term.

A new Gallup Poll shows only 58% of registered voters between the ages of 18 and 29 say they will "definitely vote" this fall.

That's far below the national average of 78% for all registered voters.

It's also at least 20-points below the percentage of young people who planned to vote in the fall of 2004 and 2008.

Young voters were one of the key voting blocs in Obama's 2008 victory over Sen. John McCain. They overwhelmingly support the president again this time around, but they historically show up to vote in lower numbers than other groups.

There's a growing sense that the outcome of this election could come down to turnout, and if that's the case, the relative lack of interest among the youth is not a good sign for the president. Of course it's still only July, and Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have more than three months to fire up this group.

This poll also shows the percentage of blacks who say they will definitely vote is similar to the national average this year. However, Hispanic registered voters – who overwhelmingly back Obama – are another one of the groups with the lowest expected turnout. Only 64% of Hispanic voters say they will definitely vote. Again, not a good sign for the president.

But back to young people:

The outcome of this election will be enormous for our country. We're facing many critical problems, including high unemployment and a runaway national debt.

Those younger than 30 have a huge stake in all of this because whether we elect Obama or Romney could have a big impact on what kind of America they inherit.

Here’s my question to you: What will it take to get young voters excited again?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Will President Obama's support of gay marriage cost him black votes?
May 10th, 2012
04:09 PM ET

Will President Obama's support of gay marriage cost him black votes?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

While President Obama's support for gay marriage is sure to fire up parts of the liberal base, it could alienate others - including black voters.

In other words, backing same-sex marriage might be a risky position for the president in an election year when it comes to one of his core voting blocs.

In 2008, African-Americans were crucial in making Mr. Obama the nation's first black president. Exit polls showed 96% of black voters supported him and they made up 13% of the electorate.

Fast forward four years: While polls suggest America on the whole is moving toward support of same-sex marriage, ABC/Washington Post polling shows 55% of black voters are still against it. That compares to 43% of whites.

And this opposition from blacks could hurt the president - particularly in the South.

Just this week in North Carolina, blacks voted two-to-one in favor of the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

North Carolina is a swing state where near-unanimous black support for Mr. Obama secured his 2008 victory.

So what if even some black voters in a state like North Carolina choose to sit this election out due to the president's support of same-sex marriage?

Groups on both sides of the issue like to compare gay marriage rights to the struggle for civil rights; but many blacks don't like that comparison. And black churches tend to see the issue in religious terms, with ministers playing a big role in the opposition to gay marriage.

While it's unlikely blacks will suddenly decide to vote for Mitt Romney over this, if some of them decide to stay home, it could make a difference in the outcome of the election.

Here’s my question to you: Will President Obama's support of gay marriage cost him black votes?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

How much do the news media ultimately affect how you vote?
April 18th, 2012
03:35 PM ET

How much do the news media ultimately affect how you vote?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"A vast left-wing conspiracy."

That's how Mitt Romney describes the media's effort to sink his presidential bid.

In an interview with Breitbart TV, the likely Republican nominee was asked whether he was ready to take on the media and liberal nonprofit groups that are "working together."

Here's what Romney said in response: "There will be an effort by the vast left-wing conspiracy to work together to put out their message and to attack me. They're going to do everything they can to divert from the issue people care most about, which is a growing economy that creates more jobs and rising incomes."

Romney said that dealing with journalists is an ongoing problem for Republicans. He added that many in the media are "inclined to do the president's bidding" and described it as an uphill battle for his party.

But Romney insists he's ready for the fight, saying Democrats will try to make the race about anything but President Barack Obama's record and the economy.

Of course, Romney's attack on the media is an echo of words made famous in 1998 by Hillary Clinton. She said her husband was the victim of a "vast right-wing conspiracy" in the early days of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

And we all know how that turned out. Bill Clinton was eventually impeached before being acquitted by the Senate.

Nonetheless - between 24/7 cable news and instant reaction from pundits on the Web and social media - it seems the news media play a larger role in the political process than ever before.

Just how much does all the blather actually matter on Election Day?

Here’s my question to you: How much do the news media ultimately affect how you vote?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • News Media • Voter Turnout
January 4th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Should children have the right to vote?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As things in Washington go from bad to worse, here's an idea that could really shake up the way politics is done in this country: Let children vote.

It may not be as crazy an idea as it first sounds.

Politico.com has a piece about a recent report in the Economist on the problem of Japan's aging population.

The median age of the voting population in Japan will soon be 65. This gives older voters a huge amount of political power - and means it's highly unlikely they'll support cuts in entitlement programs. Sound familiar?

The United States is facing a similar problem: As baby boomers age, entitlement spending is taking up a larger and larger portion of our budget - and growing our deficit exponentially.

Well, one expert who wrote to the Economist suggests an answer to this dilemma is to let kids vote. In practical terms, this would mean giving parents an extra vote for every child.

This would take away some of the voting power from seniors in the United States, who traditionally vote in large numbers. It also could give the future generation, which will have to pay off our massive debt, a say in the decisions being made today.

However, it would also put the responsibility on parents to use those votes in the best interest of their kids.

During the Vietnam War, when young Americans were fighting and dying for their country, the voting age was lowered to 18.

Now that the country is starting to die under the weight of its debt, maybe it's time to lower the voting age again.

Here’s my question to you: Should children have the right to vote?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

July 9th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Will voters blame Democrats for economic problems in 2010 election?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

At some point it will become President Obama and the Democrats' recession, not George W. Bush's. If the economy doesn't start to show signs of picking up, Democrats could feel the voters' anger in next year's mid-term elections.

President Obama is traveling a path not unlike the one President Ronald Reagan once traveled and, as my colleague Christine Romans points out, the Democrats could learn something from President Reagan's experience. Both Presidents were wildly popular early on, but unemployment was rising.

In the 1982 elections Reagan's Republican Party lost 26 seats and experts say the scale was tipped when unemployment hit 10-percent. President Obama currently faces a 9.5-percent unemployment rate and now says 10-percent is likely before the year is over. Renowned investor Warren Buffet said this morning on Good Morning America that unemployment could hit 11-percent.

It seems everyone knows someone who has lost their job. While the Obama Administration is busy pointing the finger at Bush, those unemployed Americans who can't find a job will likely be tempted to take it out on whoever is in power when they vote next fall. What remains to be seen is if voters are ready to start returning Republicans to power so soon after the Bush Administration.

Here’s my question to you: Will the voters blame the Democrats for our economic problems in next year's election?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Democrats • Economy • Elections • Voter Turnout
March 25th, 2008
05:00 PM ET

American voters all ears?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The sleeping giant may be starting to wake up. All it took was: The illegal invasion of Iraq, which led to a war that's now in its sixth year. The destruction of our civil liberties in the name of the war on terror. The quadrupling of oil prices. And the early signs of a recession that could be as bad as anything we've seen in a long time. And suddenly, the American voter is all ears.

The evidence is in the record turnouts for this year's primaries, especially among Democrats. Young people are suddenly showing up to vote in numbers we've never seen before. And based on information from places like Arizona, it looks like this tidal wave of voters is only going to continue to swell right into November.

Politico reports Arizona says voter turnout could be as high as 80%. In 2004 voter turnout hit 61% nationwide – and that was the highest level since 1968.

It's about time. For the first time in our history, our worldwide reputation is shot and our standard of living is beginning to decline. One reason this has happened is we have allowed it to.

By not being proactive and participating in our democracy, the forces that would exploit it and ultimately destroy it have had a free rein. But these voter registration numbers are very encouraging because when Americans finally get up off their collective butts and decide to do something, it's a force that's simply unstoppable.

Here’s my question to you: What does it say about the importance of this election if voter turnout in November could be as high as 80% in some states?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: 2008 Election • Voter Turnout