January 21st, 2011
02:43 PM ET

Letters to the President #732: The age appropriate president

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama is once again in the polls, and I’m once again writing a letter.

Dear Mr. President,

I have noticed in one of our latest polls that voters remain pretty much evenly split on whether or not you are succeeding or failing as president. Well, they tilt a little toward the “failing” side, but let’s not dwell on that.

What I’m struck by is the age divide. In short, younger Americans think you are doing fine. Older Americans think you’re messing up.

Why do you suppose this is? Heaven knows there is no shortage of theories, and I feel as if I have heard or read about them all. Mind you, I am neither endorsing nor refuting any, but here is a partial list of the notions I know are being batted around:

(1) Older people can’t accept that the president is black, so they certainly can’t accept that he is doing a good job.
(2) Younger people voted disproportionately for you, and they don’t want to admit it might have been a mistake. Opposite reason, same result for older people.
(3) Older people tend to be more conservative, you tend to be more liberal…and vice versa for younger folks.
(4) Younger voters like change. Older voters, not so much.
(5) Older people have worked their way up the pay scale and so are more targeted by your approach to taxation. Younger voters? Not paying the bills; not worried.

(6) Younger voters, by dint of their limited time on the planet, have a harder time grasping the long term consequences of some policies. Older voters: Been there, done that.
(7) Older citizens value experience over inspiration; younger citizens…other way around.
(8) Younger people are selfish idiots.
(9) Older people are selfish idiots.
(10) Polls on such matters are meaningless and stupid.

Who knows where the truth lies in all of that? Not me, that’s for sure. But I suspect somehow all of those factors come into play. All I really know is the result: Just as it was when you were elected, the single biggest determinant on whether people like you or not, is how old they are. If you have some time to call, I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Meanwhile, have a good day, and a good start to your weekend.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Lynn Gernigin

    dear mr presadent how come u say we are better than befor and still theres 1,000,s still like me out of work and have no prospects of finding a job in the fucher can u help us with are bills and we cant get eney moor uniployment and still we need help ty lynn

    January 21, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
  2. Lynn Gernigin

    if the reseshon is all most over now how come i am still with out a job and it dont look like im going to get 1 soon and i cant get help paying my bills like the gov, told me i could get moor help from them but thats a joke the gov, is brock and the pesadent is not doing his job we should not have some one in office who is not for the pepple who put him in office and tells us lise and keeps us in the dark like hes doing the best for us dont beleve that Lynn frome illinois

    January 21, 2011 at 8:12 pm |