OPINION: Republicans can capture this demographic if they hold back on social issues

The Democratic Party no longer has an undeniable hold on millennial voters, with an increasing number shifting toward the right side of the political spectrum, according to a report issued by Pew Research Center.

A newly identified subset of young voters are now “skeptical of activist government,” and a “substantial majority” of this subset “view government as wasteful and inefficient,” according to the study, Beyond Red v. Blue: The Political Typology, released on June 26.

This group of fiscally conservative, small-government advocates is classified as “young outsiders” by the study, among eight political typology groups that include “steadfast conservatives,” “solid liberals” and “politically disengaged bystanders.”

While young outsiders aren’t entirely comprised of millennial voters, Pew says the category is collectively the youngest of all typology groups, with 30 percent under 30 and most under 50.

The findings of the study complicate the view of millennials from a mere two years ago, when many voters now classified as young outsiders supported the reelection of President Barack Obama.

Sixty-seven percent of voters ages 18 to 29 cast their ballots for Obama, to 30 percent for former Gov. Mitt Romney. Voters 30-44 years old supported Obama 52 percent to 45 percent in support of Romney.

The cause of the rightward shift? Take your pick from a long list of grievances: out-of-control government spending, the soaring costs of higher education, government corruption, staggering unemployment and the uncertain job market, among many other issues.

One of the topic issues in the typology study is entitlement and welfare spending.

As compared to 48 percent of the general public, 86 percent of young outsiders believe that “government aid to the poor does more harm than good,” said the report. Further, 76 percent of young outsiders believe the government cannot afford to further assist those in need.

Government over-involvement is another issue of top concern, with 66 percent of young outsiders indicating that they feel the government is doing too much to resolve the country’s issues and problems.

While millennials’ viewpoints on government spending and the scope of federal power are shifting toward the right, the demographic holds mostly liberal opinions on social issues, including environmental protection regulations and controversial social policies.

Young outsiders feel that society should accept homosexuality (78 percent) compared to 62 percent of the general population. The group favors the legalization of marijuana (67 percent), and 58 percent believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

Yet despite their general resistance to government spending, 68 percent of young outsiders believe that the costs of stricter environmental laws and regulations are worthwhile.

Curiously, young outsiders veer back to the right on the gun-control debate, with 63 percent stating that protecting the right to own firearms is important.

Despite mostly socially liberal viewpoints, Pew predicts young outsiders will still lean Republican when comes to casting a ballot, although the category does not favorably view either political party. This bodes well for the GOP in the approaching midterm elections, but only if they understand the opportunity the party is afforded by this realignment of youth political philosophies.

studentsforliberty.sflThe GOP needs the young outsider demographic almost as much as the group wants stringent, fiscally conservative leaders and representatives, presenting an opportunity for a mutually beneficial relationship that has the potential for a very large return.

Republicans have an opportunity to demonstrate that they are not just the party of stodgy old white men, but also appeal to a vast array of demographics in age and gender.

Young outsiders are largely comprised of two demographic groups that could vastly contribute to improving the GOP’s image problem – youth and women. Women comprise 52 percent of young outsiders, according to the report.

However, there is a large difference between ideological agreement and actual ballots being cast for conservative candidates on Election Day.

The best plan of attack for the GOP is to leave social issues for another day and focus on appealing to young voters with decisive, realistic plans for resolving the financial problems facing our country.

Jobs, the economy, deregulation, entitlement reform and legislation that lowers the cost of college tuition – not combating the social culture war of our elders – are the issues that this demographic wants to hear about.

College Fix contributor Julianne Stanford is a student at the University of Arizona.

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IMAGES: European Parliament/Flick, Students for Liberty

RNC chairman Reince Priebus took the gloves off in a recent interview, saying Obamacare is “intentionally designed to screw over young people.”

The burden of paying for Obamacare will fall disproportionately on the young, Priebus argued, because young adults will pay more for health insurance under the new law.

Even while young people will pay more, young people generally generally require far less medical care than older adults.

“It’s about time that we start telling the truth and quit monkeying around with talking points and go right to the American people and right to young people and say exactly what I just said,” Priebus said.

“They’re getting screwed over by a plan designed to take more of their money to pay for the stuff of other people.”

Read More.

(Image: Generation Opportunity)

(Via: Drudge)

New Jersey’s Republican governor won re-election, partly because he dramatically improved his performance among young voters on Tuesday.

Gov. Chris Christie improved his performance among voters age 18-29 this election cycle, winning 48% this time around vs. 36% during his previous campaign in 2009.


Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

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We’re guessing the president does not think this is funny at all.


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Adam O’Neal is a 2013 College Fix fall fellow, working as a Washington D.C. beat reporter for Real Clear Politics. He’s doing great work, and today he has a very interesting story out about the GOP’s efforts to woo young voters. The age gap at the voting booth has been growing in the Obama era, with Democrats beating Republicans by wide margins among voters under thirty. In his story, O’Neal looks at what Republicans are trying to do to reverse that trend.

Some 50 million voting-age millennials live in the United States, and a Colorado state legislator named Owen Hill wants to be the first one elected to the U.S. Senate.

That would be a personal milestone for the 31-year-old Air Force Academy grad, who will have to win a crowded primary first, but it would also be a significant and symbolic step for his political party: Owen Hill (pictured) is a Republican, and the GOP has been hemorrhaging young voters for the past decade.

For even longer than that, Democrats have expected young Americans to break for them in large numbers. It started with Bill Clinton in 1992, slipped back in 2000, and began anew in 2004. That’s when John Kerry beat George W. Bush among under-30 voters by nine points. The gap widened in 2008, when Barack Obama received a record 66 percent of the youth vote to John McCain’s 32 percent. In 2012, Obama held a 28-point advantage over Mitt Romney…

Alex Smith, chairman of the CRNC, asserted that her organization is making inroads with groups it hadn’t previously reached. She pointed to a recent CRNC ad comparing Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe to a “catfish,” a term popularized by an MTV show about people who assume a false identities online, usually to pursue an Internet romance.

“We didn’t go to broadcast television or traditional radio,” Smith said. Instead, the CRNC purchased over 1.5 million ad impressions on Hulu, Pandora, Spotify and YouTube.

John Della Volpe, director of polling at the Harvard Institute of Politics, said the GOP didn’t seriously compete for youth votes in last two election cycles, adding that the party hadn’t thought about “campaigning in a way which connects the candidates to young people.”

O’Neal provides a fascinating glimpse inside the workings of the Republican machine. And it remains to be seen how successful the GOP will be in adapting its campaign strategies. Read his full story here.

The necessary strategy for young voters has two main aspects: 1) better messaging, 2) better candidates. The Democrats, especially those working on Obama’s campaigns, were better at marketing themselves. Think of the famous Obama “Hope” poster, and the cheesy “Yes we can” slogan. Republicans may have understandably looked down on those efforts as shallow and juvenile. But Democrats understood that young voters tend to look for something more than sensible government, they tend to look for a cause to believe in.

Whether, in fact, the average Obama supporter under thirty understood much about his policy positions is beside the point. The democrats amassed a body of effective media and messaging, to channel the aspirations of youth into political loyalty. From the outside looking in, it had the unmistakable appearance of a personality cult. I don’t suggest that the GOP should mimic the opposition in this regard. But learning to communicate conservative principles in a way that gives young people a cause to believe in would be a good place to start. Be bold. Be idealistic. The GOP could learn a lot from the campaign of Ron Paul.

This leads me to the other critical point: candidates. The GOP needs new faces. Stiff white guys in suits are a liability for any party who wishes to woo millennial voters. With so many fresh faces on the GOP scene, from Paul Ryan to Rand Paul to Ted Cruz, one would hope that the GOP’s streak of nominating cardboard candidates for the presidency is coming to an end. Fair or not, we live in an era in which personality is more important to politics than ever.

The era of the CNN or Fox News sound bite belonged to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The era of the internet meme and the viral YouTube video belonged to Barack Obama. Republicans need to adapt themselves to the realities of modern media. That means bringing younger tech savvy personnel in to lead campaigns. It also means bringing in younger candidates with a fresh image, who can offer young voters a cause to believe in, not merely a political platform to contemplate.

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

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(Image source: GageSkidmore/Flickr)

Is the GOP losing the youth? Maybe, but there are signs of hope, writes Katrina Trinko for National Review Online:

Talk different.

That’s the essential message of the College Republican National Committee’s new report on how young adults view the GOP, a document that offers a serious look at how Republicans talk about policy and why they’ve been so unsuccessful in reaching Millennial voters.

“What the GOP needs to understand is that young adults are open to voting for them, but want to know concretely how Republicans plan to solve the problems that they’re facing in their day-to-day lives,” says Kristen Soltis Anderson, a GOP pollster who conducted focus groups for the report and was its principal writer…

Read the full story at National Review Online.

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