NEWS AND OPINION:
There has been considerable hubbub over millennials. Some strategists appear convinced that the youngest generation is the largest voting bloc in the nation, and that the political party that wins their hearts will also win upcoming elections.
Here is the reality check: millennials are not the largest voting bloc; that designation still goes to Baby Boomers, who retain the title by 8 million people.
“As of November 2016, an estimated 62 million millennials (adults ages 20 to 35 in 2016) were voting-age U.S. citizens, surpassing the 57 million Generation X members (ages 36 to 51) in the nation’s electorate and moving closer in number to the 70 million Baby Boomers (ages 52 to 70),” writes Richard Fry, a senior analyst at the Pew Research Center who parsed U.S. Census Bureau data.
“Millennials comprised 27 percent of the voting-eligible population in 2016, while Boomers made up 31 percent. In 2016, Generation X and members of the Silent and Greatest generations (ages 71 and older) comprised 25 percent and 13 percent of the electorate, respectively,” Mr. Fry says.
Millennials and Boomers have quirky political callings, however.
Elusive millennials often adopt a hybrid set of political or ideological beliefs which include Republican, Democratic, independent, third-party and even socialist values. Media-savvy millennials are also selective and unpredictable about what campaign pitches they pay attention to.
Many Boomers, on the other hand, have traded their old freewheeling, 1960s-era values and veered toward the GOP and conservatism. The Pew Research Center found 44 percent of the Boomers were conservative, with 31 percent saying they were conservative Republicans. Another 44 percent were liberal, with 17 percent specifying liberal Democrats.
And the take-away for political strategists? Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.
CORPORATIONS ‘SQUELCH’ FREE SPEECH
“Corporations endanger free speech with Ingraham boycott,” writes Roger L. Simon, co-founder of PJ Media, referring to the public disagreement between Fox News host Laura Ingraham and anti-gun activist David Hogg, who called for businesses to pull their ads from her show.
“Companies are entitled to their beliefs as much as individuals, but I submit that these boycotts do not truly represent their opinions but are merely reflexive displays of corporate virtue signaling. They have little or nothing to do with whatever issue is propelling it. This is not about gun violence, a complicated subject with a variety of possible solutions, none of which are close to proven. Debating the issues is the least of it. It is about power and control,” writes Mr. Simon.
“What is going on is more precisely a mass display of political correctness augmented by fear. The groupthink among elites in our culture has become so severe that now even corporate CEOs, who once tended to be pragmatic, do not dare brook the conventional pieties of liberal/progressive thought. This urge to conform is so strong that it overrides the obvious: that boycotting might be against their business interest,” continues Mr. Simon. “These corporations are actually using free speech for the larger purpose of squelching it. By attempting to take Laura Ingraham — or anyone else — off the air, they are stomping on ideas, ending the discussion. The First Amendment be gone! The old liberal tradition used to read: You fight bad speech with more and better speech. Now you just annihilate it so it can’t be heard.”
TENACIOUS TRUMP GAINS, BIT BY BIT
CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza points out that four groups are “warming up” to President Trump. A recent survey from his network found the president’s approval rating at 42 percent — up 7 percentage points in a month.
“Here are four subgroups among which Trump performed significantly better in March than he did in February: Men. Trump was at 50 percent approval in March as compared to 42 percent approval in February. Young voters. In February, just 1 in 5 voters aged 18-34 approved of how Trump was handling the job. In March, that number increased to 30 percent,” writes Mr. Cillizza.
“Middle-aged voters. Trump’s gains among the young(ish) were one-upped by his showing among those between 35 and 49 years old, where he gained 9 points in approval in a month. College graduates: A group that has long been resistant to Trump had the biggest change of heart toward him between February and March: A 10-point swing,” he says, adding, “Looking for an explanation? The tax cut, most likely.”
Fox News Channel is rated the top cable news network in both daytime and prime-time viewing for 65 consecutive “quarters” — or more than 16 years, according to Nielsen Media Research numbers released Tuesday.
“Hannity” is the most watched cable news program of all, averaging an audience of 3.2 million, followed by MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show” with 2.9 million. Three more Fox News shows round out the top five in the field: “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” “The Ingraham Angle” and “Special Report with Bret Baier” — which each average between 2.5 million and 2.9 million viewers.
Nielsen numbers show that Fox News average about 1.4 million viewers during the day, compared to 1 million for MSNBC and 713,000 for CNN. In prime time, Fox News draws 2.5 million, while MSNBC garners 1.8 million and CNN 985,000.
Additionally, Fox News claimed 14 of the top 20 cable news programs in total viewers during the day.
In the meantime, Fox Business Network also remains the top-rated business network on television for the sixth consecutive quarter — or the last 18 months, according to Nielsen. The network had six of the top seven business programs on cable, and continues to outpace CNBC in total viewers, with an audience number that is 19 percent ahead of its rival.
POLL DU JOUR
• 46 percent of U.S. voters say they are fiscally conservative; 73 percent of Republicans, 46 percent of independents and 25 percent of Democrats agree.
• 33 percent overall are neither fiscally conservative or fiscally liberal; 16 percent of Republicans, 44 percent of independents and 38 percent of Democrats agree.
• 20 percent overall are fiscally liberal; 11 percent of Republicans, 10 percent of independents and 36 percent of Democrats agree.
• 38 percent overall are socially conservative; 70 percent of Republicans, 26 percent of independents and 21 percent of Democrats agree.
• 35 percent overall are socially liberal; 13 percent of Republicans, 35 percent of independents and 54 percent of Democrats agree.
• 27 percent overall do not lean one way or the other; 17 percent of Republicans, 39 percent of independents and 25 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Harvard/Harris/The Hill poll of 1,340 registered U.S. voters conducted March 27-29.
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