Millennials & the 2008 Election (Originally published September 2008)

Please join us in welcoming Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais, co-authors of Millennial Makeover: My Space, You Tube and the Future of American Politics as guest editors of this months Generational Interchanges edition!

Since the establishment of the U.S. two-party system, American politics have been characterized by a persistent pattern of stable electoral results lasting about 40 years interspersed with realignments or makeovers that turn things upside down. Two underlying forces produce all realignments: the coming-of-age of a sizable dynamic generation of young Americans and a major advance in communication technology. While the Baby Boomers (born 1944-1962) and their love of television produced America's last political makeover in 1968, this year's election will result in a realignment driven by the political emergence of America's largest generation, the Millennials (born after 1981), and their internet-based social networking technologies.

Almost 40 million Millennials will be eligible to vote in November. They currently favor Obama by about a 2:1 margin according to recent national surveys conducted by Research 2000 and the Pew Research Center. The majority of Millennials identify as Democrats because, on the whole, they favor policies associated with that party, such as efforts to reduce economic inequality and tolerance on social issues. But McCain's emphasis on national security could sway their vote since Millennials are also concerned about this issue. Should Millennial support for Obama hold until Election Day, the generation's size would provide him with more than an eight million vote margin among young voters, a pickup of more than six million votes over the level of support John Kerry received in 2004 from this same age group.

Just as Millennials in the workplace will completely transform how our private sector institutions are managed in the years to come, Millennials in the electorate will completely transform how our government is run, and by whom, in this year's election and for 40 more years thereafter.

Note: The above transmission is not a political endorsement of any kind nor it is intended to represent the political beliefs or affiliations of any representatives of the Interchange Group or its partners.