This fall, the votes of the baby-boom generation will be a much-sought political prize. Seventy-six million Americans were born between 1946 and 1964, and both Democrats and the GOP are trying hard to position themselves as these peoples' party of choice.
A majority of baby-boomers identify themselves as Democrats. Yet President Reagan is very popular among young voters - and a brief, random survey of boomers finds their reaction to the Democratic convention mostly lukewarm.
''The Democrats are definitely groping,'' says a D.C. association executive.
Interestingly, Senator Hart - supposedly the once and future king of the ''Yuppies'' (young urban professionals) - received mixed reviews from young voters for his convention performance. Many felt that Hart, measured against Cuomo and Jackson, was uninspiring.
''Six months ago I was interested in what he had to say,'' says Jennifer Stevens, a financial analyst at an educational accreditation corporation. ''Not any more. I'm not going to just jump up and down when people say ''new ideas.''
''Cuomo - now he'd be interesting in 1988.''
Most felt Jackson's speech was well done - but some things about Jackson troubled many of them.
''I can't stand demagoguery,'' says one young lawyer, who asked not to be named. ''I am also extremely uncomfortable with Jackson's infusion of religion into politics.''
A related point mentioned by several young, staunch Democrats was that the Democratic Party's obvious effort to portray itself as the party sensitive to the tired, poor, and huddled masses could have a negative effect. Many of those upwardly mobile baby boomers are, after all, neither huddled nor poor.
''They may have stressed the 'disenfranchisement' theme more than they should have,'' says a newsletter editor. ''I'm not sure that's their bread and butter.''