Youth Vote Gap Suggests Republicans Risk Losing An 'Entire Generation' To Democrats
Heading into the 2012 election, Republicans were convinced young voters under the age of 30 were no longer in President Barack Obama's corner, and they'd likely abandon him at the ballot box or simply not show up on Nov. 6. Considering Bureau of Labor Statistics data show young people have consistently held an unemployment rate as high as 10 percent, higher than other adult age groups since 2009, Mitt Romney gambled on making gains with the youth vote by simply talking about the economy and promising to get Americans back to work.
Instead, voters ages 18 to 29 -- who made up 19 percent of the electorate, a greater share than in 2008, and half of whom cast a ballot, for the third presidential election in a row -- went for Obama by 60 percent to 36 percent for Romney.
Now Republicans are faced with a grim premise as they look toward the future, with a much more racially diverse and socially liberal young voter base that supports Democrats by a large margin.
"It's something Republicans need to worry about in the future, because they could lose that entire generation," said Paul Beck, a professor at The Ohio State University.
Recent polling by YouGov shows a large margin of young voters who support abortion rights and raising taxes on the rich. According to Gallup polling and 2012 exit polls, 70 percent of young voters support same-sex marriage rights. By and large, millennials do not believe global warming is a debatable phenomenon. And virtually the whole of the Ten Point GOP Purity Test floated in recent years and the 2012 Republican party platform are out of step with the majority opinion of young voters.