Pew: Dems Losing Millennial Edge
Politically, Millennials were among Barack Obama’s strongest supporters in 2008, backing him for president by more than a two-to-one ratio (66% to 32%) while older adults were giving just 50% of their votes to the Democratic nominee. This was the largest disparity between younger and older voters recorded in four decades of modern election day exit polling. Moreover, after decades of low voter participation by the young, the turnout gap in 2008 between voters under and over the age of 30 was the smallest it had been since 18- to 20-year-olds were given the right to vote in 1972. (Chapter 8).
But the political enthusiasms of Millennials have since cooled —for Obama and his message of change, for the Democratic Party and, quite possibly, for politics itself. About half of Millennials say the president has failed to change the way Washington works, which had been the central promise of his candidacy. Of those who say this, three-in-ten blame Obama himself, while more than half blame his political opponents and special interests.
To be sure, Millennials remain the most likely of any generation to self-identify as liberals; they are less supportive than their elders of an assertive national security policy and more supportive of a progressive domestic social agenda. They are still more likely than any other age group to identify as Democrats. Yet by early 2010, their support for Obama and the Democrats had receded, as evidenced both by survey data and by their low level of participation in recent off-year and special elections. (Chapter 8).
Business Week reads the same 149 page report (which I have not read) differently — Younger Americans Cite Liberalism as Defining Aspect:
Those aged 18 to 29 cited technology use, music/pop culture and liberalism/tolerance as the three top characteristics that most make them unique from other age groups.
The slant toward liberalism showed in their support of government — 53 percent of them said government should do more to solve problems, compared with 45 percent of those aged 30-45, 43 percent of those aged 46-64, and 39 percent of those 65 and older.
The characteristic also showed in party affiliation. Among the younger age group, 41 percent identified as Democrats, while 32 percent classified themselves as independents and 22 percent as Republicans. That was the largest percentage of Democratic Party supporters among any of the age groups.
More coverage of the report:
- WaPo — Despite recession, young people optimistic about future
- USA Today — Millennial generation more educated, less employed
- Chicago Tribune — ‘Millennials’ dubbed ‘always connected’ generation
- MSNBC — ‘Millennials’ an always on, texting generation
A live video webcast of Pew’s Millennials conference will be available here at at 9:00 AM today. Here Pew’s demographic portrait of four generations. Here the how “Millennial” are you quiz. While my birth date makes me a baby boomer, my score (47) places me as a solid Gen Xer. More texting, tattoos and piercings would have lifted my score.