BOSTON — President Joe Biden will turn 81 when voters cast their ballots in November 2024. And the Republican frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, turns 78.
Young voters will play a key role in the elections. So how can two older men win them over?
Biden was at the Grand Canyon on Tuesday to tout his environmental record in a move he hopes will appeal to younger voters, pledging to “preserve this land of ancestral footprints for all generations to come.” And no wonder. Because without the lion’s share of younger voters, Biden probably won’t get a second term, says David Paleologos, who recently surveyed young voters for the Suffolk University Political Research Center.
“It was 36% Biden, 30% Trump and 30% voted for an independent. 30!” says Paleologos. “Biden needs to win young people at 26, not six.” Biden’s margin in 2020 was close to that of 2020 with a record high turnout in youth votes. But this time he must overcome a backlash.
“Student loans would be the silver bullet that would lock up young voters, but in our polls, nearly a third don’t want Trump or Biden,” says Paleologos.
In poll after poll, voters aged 18-34 are making it clear that they want a generational change. They have the potential to pick the winner if they show up. So if they do get the 2020 rematch, even without a third choice, see below.
“If it’s a binary choice, both Biden and Trump will try to make the other more unattractive,” notes Paleologos. “And that’s a strategy that really worked for Trump in 2016 among the general electorate.”
Both candidates have their work cut out to reach younger voters. A recent New Hampshire poll found that 60% of Republicans under age 34 thought 65 was too old for a president, a bad omen for Trump.
But it’s up to Biden and the Democrats to beat this all-important demographic. And there is reason to believe that fear of Trump alone this time won’t get the job done.
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