PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Ask political strategists and they’ll say young people, the millennials, don’t usually vote in congressional midterm elections.
“That’s a demographic that has voted in a much higher level in presidential elections,” Republican strategist Mike DeVanney told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Monday. “I mean, it’s really a different environment for young people to come out and vote in a congressional election.”
But this year, millennials outnumber baby boomers, so could it be different?
“Well, it’s been incredible here in Pennsylvania,” Democratic strategist Mike Mikus said. “Pennsylvania has actually led the nation in terms of young voters being newly registered voters.”
But will these new voters actually vote?
Mikus thinks they will.
“What we’re seeing around the country in states that have early voting is that youth turnout among 18 to 29 year olds is through the roof. In Tennessee, it’s up over 700 percent,” Mikus said.
Democrats hope that’s good news for them.
“I don’t think any demographic is monolithic,” DeVanney said.
DeVanney says don’t assume millennials are voting Democratic.
“Young people care about jobs. Young people care about the economy. They care about the environment,” DeVanney said. “Look, if more young people come out, right now probably that’s a little bit of help to the Democrats, but I think it’s unfair to assume that youth turnout is solely going to benefit the Democrats.”
Millennials aren’t the only important voters.
“Suburban women are very important in this election,” DeVanney said. “For Republicans looking a little bit deeper into that demographic, it’s married suburban women. They are the voters who helped give President Trump a victory against Hillary Clinton.”
This year, polls show a big gender gap in favor of Democrats.
Another key group, says Mikus.
“The African-American community is the heart and soul of the Democratic Party,” he said.
Black voters help win close elections.
“In particular, African-American women who turned out in massive numbers,” Mikus said.
As for white males, adds DeVanney, “White males, at least in the public polling, do make up a sizable proportion of the Republican vote. It’s going to be a critical group for us to get out tomorrow.”
So let’s be real.
In close elections, every single demographic group can make the difference.
Republicans hope the President’s campaigning will bring out every white male and that married suburban women will stick with them.
And Democrats think women are backing their candidates, along with millennials and African-Americans.
We will know who is right Tuesday night.