Al Giordano at The Field has a long, detailed, fascinating piece on generational demographics and its effect on American politics — “I Have Seen the Future of US Politics & Its Name is Prop 19“:
… SUSA titles its analysis, “Some Evidence That California’s Marijuana Tail is Wagging Barbara Boxer’s Dog; Voters Without Home Phones, Voters Focused on Decriminalization, May Tip Senate.” In sum, the pollsters have identified the key factor in Boxer’s contest vs. Republican Carly Fiorina, who leads narrowly with 46 percent over 44 percent for the incumbent. By looking separately at voters who only use cell phones, those who have both cell and home phones, and those only with home telephones, SUSA has found significant differences in the voting intentions of the cell phone-only citizens and the rest. It is no secret to young people (of all ages) who use cell phones exclusively that they are culturally distinct from land liners in ways that extend beyond hardware preferences.
Nomadic, and on the move, more reliant on the Internet than the television for their news intake, they’re the future of the United States. And they’re also a lot more multi-racial – and more actively defy societal apartheids – than the rest of the population. OMG! Wait… wait… see that little light bulb popping on over our heads? By Jove, I think we get it! Those are the 2008 first time Obama voters, duh! And getting them to vote in the midterm elections is the biggest headache that the White House and the Democratic party has right now leading up to November 2…
Interestingly enough, Boxer opposes Proposition 19. So does former and future Governor Jerry Brown… And when I see Attorney General Eric Holder and drug czar Gil Kerlikowske embarrass themselves with anti-Prop 19 posturing – given that the data shows that highly motivated Prop 19 supporters are the Democrats’ only ace left to save the California senate seat, and what that implies for the rest of the country in 2012 – I have to wonder aloud whether this is the usual fear-motivated political posturing on the part of these Democrats or a more calculated strategy to hope Prop 19 loses narrowly in order to have it on the ballot again two years from now and bring the new “swing voter” back to the ballot box again. If that is the hidden agenda, it is a risky one, not one that I would recommend, because if Prop 19 goes down this year there are going to be a lot of pissed off reform votes out there, some of whom remember when the words “tea party” had other connotations…
The best case scenario for Democrats, however, is not that Prop 19 loses and comes up again in California in 2012, but to the contrary: If the historic Proposition 19 passes, the pundits and talking heads that generate the misnamed “conventional wisdom” in the Washington DC beltway will be falling all over each other to note that Prop 19 won and it pulled Boxer out of the fire with it. If coming out of Election Night, Prop 19 emerges with the sheen of a newly-minted winner, Democratic strategists will have little choice but to adopt a “50 state strategy” (especially in the 26 states – Maine, Massachusetts, and virtually everything west of the Mississippi River – that have citizen generated statewide ballot initiative processes), and go “all in” on legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana, even if their politicians continue to balk at saying it aloud. And if you’re a Democratic (or Republican) politician that doesn’t yet see the writing on the wall, remember how most of you were wrong (or late) in your predictions two and three years ago, and that “Yes, We Can” means “Yes, We Cannabis,” too.
Go read the whole thing before you start arguing about the details — there’s a lot of solid numbers and information that I can’t do justice in a teaser here. I don’t have the background to judge whether Giordano is right about the Democrats’ possible Sekrit Plan, but he’s got an excellent record when it comes to predicting specific contests, largely because he’s been good about parsing the numbers rather than finger-to-the-winding Conventional Wisdom.