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Election 2009: Where have all the young voters gone?

November 4, 2009 |  7:19 am

Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob McDonnell (R) greets supporters during a campaign rally on November 2, 2009 in Alexandria, Virginia
The tale of the tape is in the turnout.

In New Jersey, Republican Chris Christie pulled out a surprisingly comfortable victory over a better-financed incumbent. In Virginia, Republican Bob McDonnell won an impressive victory touting what he could do to create more jobs. 

In both cases, the key to victory was in who showed up. Put another way, the young people who fueled Barack Obama's historic presidential victory last year stayed home.

In New Jersey in 2008, the under-30 vote made up 22% of the electorate. One year later, the tally dropped to 8%.

And in Virginia, the under-30s made up 10% of this year's election, down from 21% when Obama was at the top of the ticket.

All of which may be another way of saying that Obama had enough charisma to overcome the historic apathy of the youth vote.

The issue for Democrats this morning: how to get the vote folks back before the 2010 elections.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo:  Bob McDonnell  greets supporters during a campaign rally on Monday in Alexandria, Va. Credit: Getty Images

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