Younger voters turning their backs on Democrats

  • 3 May 2018
  • NormanL
Younger voters turning their backs on Democrats

Democrats have come to depend on millennial voters to shore up their base. A wide-ranging Reuters/Ipsos poll, however, shows younger Americans aren't all that keen on Democrats. Or for that matter, political parties in general:

The mood of the young electorate in America is growing ever more wary of all establishment parties and candidates. The latest evidence of this is a huge new national Reuters/Ipsos poll of young voters. The survey (like many others) shows that young Americans as a whole aren't too keen on the Republican Party or Donald Trump. But they're showing less and less love for the Democratic Party too, with the percentage expressing a preference for Democrats in Congress now falling below a majority.

Picking up the slack is a growing number of young people who are unsure how they feel about the major parties, plan to support third-party candidates, or intend to abstain from voting altogether.

Slightly more than a quarter (26 percent) of those surveyed this year did not lean toward either Democratic or Republican candidates—up from 18 percent in 2016.

Reuters/Ipsos surveyed 16,000 18-to-34-year-old registered voters in an online poll that ran from January to March. Pollsters offered the same survey to thousands of young U.S. voters during the first three months of 2016.

Since 2016, young voters' stated preference for Democratic candidates fell 9 percentage points, to 46 percent overall.

Two years ago, 55 percent of those surveyed said they would vote Democrat and only 27 percent said they would vote Republican.

This year, the percentage of self-professed GOP voters held relatively steady, at 28 percent (in a poll with a margin of error of 1 percentage point). The defectors from the Democrats are now undecideds, independents, and electoral dropouts—a shift most pronounced among white millennials.

If these numbers accurately represent the mood among younger voters, then both major parties face enormous challenges. But for Democrats, who have cultivated and catered to younger voters (none dare call it pandering), these numbers ought to be shocking.

Should the young desert the Democrats, that party's future looks not just grim, but downright desolate. As for the GOP...the sooner the realize these voters might be up for grabs, the brighter their future will be. Not an easy task, considering most politicians look no further ahead than their next election, nevermind the next generation.