Rock the Right: Free-market activists eye youth vote

A May 19 report by a job-firm Adecco showed that roughly 60 percent of recent college grads have not been able to find a full-time job in their preferred area. One in five graduates have taken jobs far from their training, one in six are dependent on their parents, and one in four say they’re in debt, according to the firm’s data.

Other surveys shows shifting political concerns among younger voters.

A early 2010 poll by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics showed the two parties losing supporters are more people aged 18 to 29 identified themselves as independents, and showed incumbent President Barack Obama scored below-majority ratings for his record on health care, the economy, the deficit, Iran and Afghanistan. Overall, Obama’s ratings remained high at 56 percent, partly because 83 percent of younger African Americans and 69 percent of younger Hispanic Americans supported him, despite higher-than-average unemployment and poverty in those two communities. Obama’s overall rating among younger white Americans had dropped to 45 percent.

An informal 2011 survey of 500 graduates and post-graduates by Joe Maddalone, founder of Maddalone Global Strategies, showed that 83 percent voted for Obama in 2008, but only 27 percent were committed to voting for Obama again. The survey, said New York-based Maddalone, showed that 80 percent said they would consider voting for a Republican. “People have had time to reflect on how they voted in 2008, and now they’re thinking about whether they have a job or like their job,” he said. said. Their trust in government is shrinking, and so their attitude is shifting from “‘Yes, we can,’ to ‘Yes, I can,’” he said.

The 600 people in Kellyanne Conway’s week-long poll are “pretty fair-market,” she said.

Paul Conway’s Generation Opportunity can help interested people get the information they need to build their knowledge and views well before the 2012 election, said Conway. His site will provide information from many sources, including the left-of-center Huffington Post, the right-of-center Heritage Foundation, from government sites and from generational peers, he said. “We’re putting the information out there in the public domain,” via Facebook, e-mails, Twitter and YouTube, he said.

On YouTube, they’ll “interview national political leaders in a candid way,” he said, citing “The Colbert Report” as a example where complex issues can be communicated in a sophisticated way. “Underneath the humor in these [TV-comedy] shows, there’s an educational role [in which ] they’re very sophisticated,” Conway said.

The group also wants to help people get registered so they can influence politics. The long-standing Rock The Vote campaign has been labeled as a partisan advocacy group, but “it is a fundamentally a good thing when people stand up and tell people they should vote,” he said.

Conway declined to identify his donors. His group is a 501(C)(4), and like many other such groups, is under no legal obligation to release the names of his donors.

“We think that federal spending is too high, the rate of growth in government is too high, and that money is best left with and managed by those who earn it,” said Conway.