Generation Branstad?

I was thinking about something the other day, and I thought I would share it with you. Just some numbers to consider, I'll leave the analysis to you.

62-year old Terry E. Branstad was first elected governor in 1982 and last elected governor in 1994. His last full day in office was January 14, 1999.

On Election Day 2010:

The youngest person to have voted for Branstad in 1982 would be:  46

The youngest person to have voted for Branstad ever would be: 34

The youngest person to have a political opinion of the Branstad administration (assuming political opinions form around age 12-13) would be: 24

The youngest person to have any memory from the Branstad administration (assuming memory forms around age 4 or 5, counting such memories as “that guy with the funny mustache on TV”) would be: 16

The youngest person to have been born during the Branstad administration would be:  11


When Terry Branstad was elected governor in 1982:

Bob Vander Plaats was 19

Chet Culver was 16

Chris Rants was 15

Christian Fong was 5


Chet Culver's job approval rating among 18-34 year olds ***:

Approve: 36%

Disapprove: 54%

Unsure: 10%

* This represents the age group with the lowest percentage approving and the highest percentage disapproving among those surveyed. For comparison, among those aged 35-49, Culver has a 40% approval rating in this poll.

** Survey of 600 persons by SurveyUSA, released 6/18/2009 and available here.

  • the margin of error

    for subgroups in a sample is always bigger than the margin of error for the poll as a whole. Also, Survey USA seems to come in with lower numbers for Culver than other polls. The Iowa Republican poll was in the field about three weeks after the June SUSA poll and found Culver’s overall approval rating at 53 percent, compared to 42 percent for SUSA.

    Are you suggesting that young people don’t like Culver but may have vaguely fond memories of Branstad because he was governor when they were kids? To be persuaded of this I would have to see a lot more data about young people not liking Culver and why.

    There is no question that Democrats will have to educate people about Branstad’s real record if he gets in the race. I am shocked by some of the revisionist history I read regarding Terry “two sets of books.”

  • The $64,000 Question

    That’s the $64,000 question: why is Culver’s support among 18-34 year olds so low?

    If you’re right, desmoinesdem, and it’s a matter of that demographic being more liberal than Culver–that’s the best-case-scenario for him. They’ll most likely stay home or hold their noses and vote for him.

    If it’s a matter of anger over the economy, than he’s in trouble. Job losses and tighter credit are potentially more likely to affect people in this first job/first house demographic than older people. Add to that Culver’s Regent cuts (which result in tuition hikes), and you have a demographic that could be easily coaxed into the Branstad camp. (The Branstad-Grandy “two sets of books” stuff would probably be lost on them.)

    For that to happen, Branstad would likely need Fong and his youth outreach team on board and he’d have to play down gay marriage in the general–two things that seem plausible.

    If I were on the Culver team, I’d get some polling done stat to figure out why he’s not doing better here.

    • they've probably been doing

      detailed internal polling all year. I’d be shocked if they weren’t.

      Playing down gay marriage poses risks for Branstad as well–the religious right could stay home or vote reluctantly for him without volunteering. I don’t see Grassley having big coat-tails for Republicans, because the right-wingers aren’t happy with him either.

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