Lost youth is GOP’s generational gap
Who the president is when we first come of voting age — and whether we see that president as successful — strongly influences our future voting allegiances.
Take the case of Ronald Reagan, who when he first won the White House in 1980 by defeating President Jimmy Carter and third-party candidate Rep. John Anderson was at the age of 69 the oldest president ever elected. That year, Reagan and Carter split the 18-to-29-year-old vote, with Anderson, the maverick, taking 11 percent.
Four years later in 1984, when President Reagan ran for re-election, nowhere was this voter approval of the then-73-year-old incumbent more dramatic than among the nation’s youngest voters, some more than half a century the Gipper’s junior, who backed him over Democrat Walter Mondale by a 61 to 39 percent margin.
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