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.

April 12th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Should basic citizenship test be part of voter registration?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

One of the requirements for becoming a citizen of the United States is passing a written civics test. Questions include: What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress? Who is Commander in Chief of the military? What is the highest court in the United States?

Pretty easy, right?

Well last month, Newsweek gave 1,000 Americans the U.S. citizenship test to see if they could pass it if they had to. 38% failed. Questions like why we fought the Cold War stumped 73%. Defining the Bill of Rights tripped up 44%. 29% couldn't name our current vice president. And 6% weren't sure when we celebrate Independence Day.

But it's not just civics and American history many Americans aren't "getting." There is a general disconnect between what many voters think and what actually goes on in Washington. According to a CNN poll, most Americans think that the government spends a lot more money on programs like foreign aid and public broadcasting than it actually does. Many Americans support cuts to those programs even though they amount to very little of the overall budget. When it comes to entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicaid - the ones that really cost our government the big bucks - most Americans want to avoid cuts.

In a column for CNN.com, contributor LZ Granderson says that too many ignorant voters in this country may be to blame for too many incompetent men and women in Congress. Granderson suggests weeding out "some of the ignorant by making people who want to vote first pass a test." He suggests the same citizenship test immigrants must pass.

Here’s my question to you: Should a basic citizenship test be part of the voter registration process?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Voter Registration
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.
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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?


August 3rd, 2010
05:00 PM ET

How early is too early for presidential campaign to begin?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Right now, it's all about the 2010 midterm elections... or is it? As soon as the polls close on November 2 and the winners are announced, the focus will shift to the presidential race of 2012.
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Even though that may seem far away... for some, the presidential campaign has already begun.

Potential Republican hopefuls are already logging multiple visits to key early states - like Iowa and New Hampshire.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.... he's set to make his fifth visit to Iowa next week... he's also made three trips to New Hampshire.

Pawlenty insists he won't decide whether or not to run until early next year. Maybe… but in the meantime he's working it.... big-time. Meeting local politicians, shaking hands with voters, making speeches about how to fix the country, talking about his blue-collar background, raising money for his political action committee... you get the idea.

And Pawlenty is not the only one. Far from it.

According to Radio Iowa, since the 2008 presidential race ended, the following politicians have been to Iowa multiple times: former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. Also, former Governors Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney and George Pataki have each been once.

It could very well be one of this crop who hopes to unseat Pres. Obama.

For the rest of us, this means before you know it… we'll be bombarded daily with polls and television ads and fund-raising pleas and debates... and all the wonderful things that go along with a presidential campaign. Wolf is positively giddy in anticipation.

Here’s my question to you: How early is too early for another presidential campaign to begin?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


August 5th, 2008
05:51 PM ET

GOP voter registration declining since 2005?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There may be hope for the survival of our country. The rise in the number of independent voters in several states has been so sharp that they now virtually constitute a third party. That's not good news for the Democrats and Republicans, and it's really not good news for the Republicans.

The New York Times reports that for more than 3 years now, there has been a decline in the number of voters registering as Republicans and an increase in the number registering as Democrats.

These shifts could affect local, state and national politics for several election cycles to come. Already, Republicans have lost control in many state houses and governors' mansions, and they took a beating in the midterm elections of 2006.

It's important to note that swings in party registration aren't uncommon from year to year, and party registration often has no impact on how people end up voting. But experts say what is remarkable is that this shift away from the Republican Party is now in its 4th year. One analyst says it suggests a "fundamental change going on in the electorate."

Former House Majority Leader Republican Dick Armey says these are "not good numbers" for the GOP, but cautions they don't give a clear indication about what will happen in the presidential race. Armey suggests the key is who all these new independent voters will support.

Democrats point to President Bush as the main reason for the shift, but they're also benefiting from demographic changes – things like the rise in the number of younger voters and the urbanization of the suburbs.

Here’s my question to you: Republican voter registrations have been declining since 2005. Why?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: GOP • Voter Registration