According to a recent Gallup Poll, 54% of young Americans ages 18-t0-29 identify with the democrats since 2006, compared to 34% who identify themselves as republicans.
From 1993-2003 the margin was a lot closer with 47% of 18-to-29 year olds aligning themselves with democrats and 42% republican. Gallup believes the shift in party preference to be caused by an increasing number of young minority voters. With the numbers being 45% non-white and 54% non-hispanic white compared to previous numbers of 29% non-white to 71% non-hispanic white.
Jeffery Jones of Gallup commented that over the decades, there has been a shift in Americans’ party affiliations, and all though historically young Americans’ have typically aligned themselves with the Democrats, the margin by which they are doing so has widened significantly.
President Barack Obama dominated the younger demographic in the 2012 presidential election by a staggering 60% of 18-to-29 year olds compared to the 37% who voted for Mitt Romney, his republican counterpart.
Even though the shift is due largely in part by an increasing number of young, ethnically diverse voters, there as has been a shift of young, white voters towards the democratic party as well since 2006 because of increasing frustrations with President George W. Bush and his policies.
However, according to political science professor at George Washington University, John Sides, young Americans voting for the first time ever in 2012 tended to side with Romney rather than Obama in the presidential election, as well as 19 and 20 year olds. This is due in part to the economic climate at the time of the election.
Professor Sides also remarked that future elections may also depend not only on the economic climate at the time, but how popular the candidate is as well and that those factors may or may not help the Democrats’ in 2016.
According to USA Today, in 2012, Obama garnered 60% of the young vote, which was down from 66% in 2008. However, voters age 65 and older have begun to swing towards the GOP. In 2012, the older demographic identified themselves as 48% Republican and 45% Democrat.
Although the voting shift in the 65 and older demographic as favored the Republicans, Jones states that, “The GOP may find itself in an increasingly weak position against the Democrats unless it can broaden its appeal to younger, non white Americans.”
The majority of Republican strategists worry about the long term because voters in the United States are becoming less conservative and becoming more dominated by ethnic minorities which tend to vote more with Democrats.
However, according to experts, while the 2014 midterm elections might favor the GOP, they shouldn’t get their hopes up or see it as a sign of things to come in 2016 because these elections tend to vote for the party that doesn’t occupy the Presidency.
Political expert Charlie Cook wrote in the National Journal that people who vote in midterm elections are typically and older and whiter demographic than those who tend to vote in the general elections and that what happens in 2014 shouldn’t serve as an indicator of what may or may not happen in 2016. He added that “Republicans can win in 2014 without having fixed their problems.”
By Nathaniel Pownell
Detroit Free Press
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