Are Democrats Losing Their Grip on Millennials?

Taking millennials’ support for granted would be a huge mistake for Democrats this November, a new poll points out. While most people naturally assume the under-34 crowd is in the Left’s back pocket, liberals got a jolt from this week’s Reuters survey, which shows exactly how much ground Democrats are losing with the generation.

In a survey of more than 16,000 voters between the ages of 18-34, researchers were surprised to see a big drop in Democratic support. Enthusiasm is waning, Chris Kahn warns, with a nine-point slip in the Left’s advantage over the GOP. Increasingly, reporters point out, young people say “the Republican Party is a better steward of the economy.” With vignettes like Terry Hood’s, an African American who voted for Hilary Clinton in 2016, it’s obvious that what Donald Trump and Republican leaders have done is helping their midterm election case. “It sounds strange to me to say this about the Republicans,” said the 34-year-old, “but they’re helping with even the small things. They’re taking less taxes out of my paycheck. I notice that.”

While the numbers are still on the Democrats’ side (only 28 percent “overtly support” Republicans), they’re shrinking – especially as millennials age. Among the population’s white voters, the shift to the GOP was even more obvious. “Two years ago, young white people favored Democrats over Republicans for Congress by a margin of 47 to 33 percent; that gap vanished by this year, with 39 percent supporting each party.”

And the economy isn’t the only thing changing people’s minds. Ashley Reed, a mom of three, voted for Barack Obama. “But,” Kahn writes, “her politics evolved with her personal life… [N]ow 28, she grew more supportive of gun rights… [and] she opposed abortion after having children.”

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Of course, all of this confirms what we’ve said for years. As young people marry and have children, they become more socially conservative because they’re responsible for protecting and shaping a life. They become more financially conservative when they buy their first house. This is nothing new. History — and most statistical data — shows that young people also tend to become more religious as they grow up, get married, and start families of their own. Millennials, like the generations before them, want to live independently and adventurously. Those growing pains usually translate to more thoughtful cultural engagement after they take on more responsibility. That’s why promoting marriage and having children (in that order) are not only important to this country, but to the future of conservatism.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)
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