What noted pollster John Zogby terms the “CENGA generation” might just shape the conversation around the 2012 presidential race. CENGA is shorthand for “College Educated, Not Going Anywhere,” and according to Zogby, these voters no longer see government as a problem solver.
“Who is going to talk to them and who is going to make the promise to them that their America will not only be better, but their America will be better in shorter order?” Zogby asked.
Zogby gave the keynote speech Monday at C&E’s Art of Political Campaigning conference—“The 2012 Presidential Campaign: A View from the Right Brain and the Left Brain.”
Neither the campaign of President Obama nor that of his Republican challenger Mitt Romney is messaging properly to the CEGNA generation—a group of voters Zogby considers a subset of the “First Globals” he identified during the 2008 cycle. Four years ago, these voters were optimistic about the future of the country and predisposed to support the Democrat. Now, it’s a group that’s largely disengaged from this fall’s presidential contest.
“[These are] right-brain arguments that will appeal to the heart and the mind and the soul of voters who haven’t quite made up their minds yet,” Zogby said.
What’s missing, he argued, is a willingness to make real investments in the new economy—investments in entrepreneurship that could offer the CENGA generation a reason for hope.
“I have so overstepped my bounds as a pollster by having ideas. Call this my Neil Munro moment,” Zogby joked—a reference to The Daily Caller reporter who interrupted a President Obama news conference last week. “I’m so out of line.”