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Policy: Labor

British Millennials sour on Labour

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Beltway Confidential,Michael Barone,Labor,United Kingdom,Analysis,Millennials

In my Monday Washington Examiner column I look at the differences in political attitudes between young Americans and young Brits. Young Brits, it seems, are less likely to favor big government policies and are not big backers of the Labour party. Confirmation comes from Conservative London Mayor Boris Johnson’s column in the Monday Telegraph, in which he says the current Labour party leader, Ed Milliband, is just like Neil Kinnock, who lost two general elections, and not at all like Tony Blair, who won three. In his inimitable prose, Johnson notes a recent poll result:

“For the first time since the 2010 election, the Labour lead has sunk to five points. The Tories are ahead not just among the over-60s but — and this is surely a new thing — we seem to be more popular among 18- to 24-year-olds as well. If Labour can’t get their message across to a generation that faces such challenges — rising rents, tuition fees, you name it — then what is the point of the Labour Party?”

I should note that for most of the last 50 years in Britain–the first seven years of Blair’s tenure in No. 10 Downing Street were an exception–polls have usually shown the governing party behind; it is British voters’ way, I believe, of cabining in the potentially dictatorial powers of the prime minister.

In my column I suggested some possible lessons for America’s Republicans, who lost the 18-to-29 age group to Barack Obama by 66%-32% in 2008 and 60%-37% in 2012. And there are signs that young voters are souring on the president. The most recent is the Quinnipiac poll in electorally crucial Ohio, where Obama’s approval was down to 40% with 57% disapproval, with voters under 30 approving by only a 50%-48% margin. Given that about one in ten young Ohio voters are black, this means that most young Ohio whites (there aren’t many Hispanics or Asians in Ohio)   disapprove of the president’s performance. Compare this with the 2012 exit poll, in which young Ohio voters went 62%-35% for Obama.

 

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Michael Barone

Senior Political Analyst
The Washington Examiner