Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Yippee-ki-yay, Mothers and Cubicle Men

The Yuppie, now 24 years old as a demographic term, long ago entered senescence (Ogden Nash: “Senescence begins and middle age ends the day your descendants outnumber your friends.) Originally the term that Gary Hart’s pollsters coined to describe his target demographic was Yumpie, or "young, upwardly mobile professional," which morphed into the "young urban professional" or Yuppie. And thanks to Abbie Hoffman for coining Yippie to begin with, a combination of the made-up Youth International Party and hippie, which made an early appearance in the Orlons' "South Street" in 1963 ("Where do all the hippies meet, South Street, South Street.)

Every election since has supposedly turned on a hitherto undiscovered demographic group. Think angry while male, soccer mom, security mom, Nascar dad.

There’s a brand new one for 2008 that I only learned of today, courtesy of Congressional Quarterly, the bible for political junkies. According to CQ, the new target is male:

He’s faceless, forlorn, the personification of despair in portrayals from Kafka to “Dilbert.” But the middle-class office worker has some very real problems these days. His company froze contributions to its pension plan and cut back on health care benefits because of rising costs. His recent raise isn’t covering the higher payments on his adjustable-rate mortgage. The annual child care bill for his two kids now tops $15,000. And though he and his spouse earn more than they did five years ago, they’re working more hours than ever.

Is there any way to make this person optimistic enough to vote for any presidential candidate?

That question is increasingly on the minds of political strategists, pollsters and other experts, who believe the economically stressed Cubicle Man could decide next year’s elections.”

And to think that until now I thought the key voter in the battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was the metrosexual Cuticle Man.

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