Research is showing young Americans, even those with ages in the single digits, are informed and empowered when it comes to politics. One recent study found that millennials are more liberal on economic issues than baby boomers were on social issues.
Why Should Democrats Care?
Democrats should care because young Americans, especially those in the Millennials, a generation that is the fastest-growing demographic in the country, tend to lean Democratic. That will make it hard for Republicans to win the millennial vote in future presidential elections. Democrats should care because it is a Democratic president, in the mold of Joe Biden, who will set a tone that will inspire Democrats, including millennials, to vote.
In the last presidential election, 18-29-year-old voters supported President Barack Obama over Republican nominee Mitt Romney by an average of 44% to 35%. In 2008, young Americans supported Sen. Obama over Sen. McCain by an average of 45% to 37%.
The research on young Americans, specifically millennials, shows the kind of voters Democrats and Republicans should be focused on. A survey released in September of 2011 found that young people favor raising the minimum wage by a 2-to-1 margin. While this is a liberal result, it is in line with a similar survey in March 2011. While the youngest voters support the issue of same-sex marriage, they do not support same-sex marriage by a 3-to-1 margin.
These poll results are significant because young voters tend to be more progressive on social issues and are more open to new ideas. It is also important because the election of a Democratic president will motivate Democrats, particularly millennials, to register and vote.
Another survey shows that Democrats need to do more to motivate young voters to vote. The October 2011 poll of likely voters shows that the Democratic advantage among voters under 30 years old disappears when these voters are asked who they will vote for in the next election. Among these voters, Democrats lead Republicans by a 52% to 19% margin. But if Republicans want to win, they must motivate voters between the ages of 30 and 44 by a 49% to 35% margin. If young voters are apathetic, Republicans will win easily.
For Republicans to win, they must convince young voters that the GOP is the party that will stand up for them. They need to persuade voters between the ages of 30 and 44 that the GOP cares about their lives. And they need to convince voters 45 and up that Republicans care about their lives by a 51% to 41% margin. These figures may be suitable for Republicans in the next presidential race, but they are terrible for Republicans in congressional and state legislative races. The Republican Party must find a way to motivate younger voters, and that will mean convincing voters 45 and up that Republicans are the party that will stand up for them.
Another survey shows that young voters want their politicians to be more progressive. The poll, conducted by the research firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, shows that young voters want their politicians to be more advanced, 38% to 27% for Republicans. When voters are asked which candidate they trust most to handle social issues, young voters gave the edge to Democrats, 29% to 20%. These figures are important because if candidates do not want to be progressive, then young voters will not vote.
Republican leaders should be motivated and understand the importance of inspiring young voters to the polls. The key to Republican success in a future election is to energize young voters, specifically voters ages 18-34. The key for Republicans is to find a way to convince the young citizens to come out in the general election.
Republicans do not need to look far to find a way to motivate young voters. Republicans can start by doing something that they did for the Democrats in 2008. The Democrats had no problem encouraging young voters to register and vote; they urged voters by giving them free registration. The Democrats, however, had benefited from the register and used it to help get out the vote, having better voter turnout this time around because Republicans were more motivated to keep them away from the polls.
The GOP needs young voters to register and vote
The Democrats have a better ground game, better organization, and better technology. The Republican National Committee has partnered with the Obama campaign to encourage turnout among young voters. Interestingly, they picked the exact time of the year to promote voter turnout, specifically among voters ages 18-34. Democrats had stepped up efforts on voter turnout with the Obama for America, developing a plan that would be used by Democratic campaigns across the country to encourage young voters to come out and vote. The main point of the Democrat’s voter turnout plan is that the Democrats have improved voter turnout in key voter demographics. The Obama for America encouraged the Democrats to focus on the 18-34 demographic. In 2008 Obama lost voters ages 35 and up by 22 points, but now Republicans seem to be motivated to keep them away from the polls.
How to Increase Voter Turnout With the Millennials
- The economy was the issue that caused the most extraordinary backlash. Despite Obama’s handling of the economic situation, the economy is the #1 issue for large shares of voters, including millennials, according to research.
- This finding may be significant in presidential elections because this generation is less likely to say they will vote for a candidate who would not fix the economy.
- Youth support the rights of illegal immigrants and believe allowing gays and lesbians to marry would strengthen the nation.
- Although Obama may have done a better job keeping the country safe, support is waning for sending more troops into combat. Despite the economy showing signs of improvement, jobs are not the top concern of voters. 47% of voters say the economy is not going in the right direction, but terrorism was in their top five concerns.
The demographics of the electorate also suggest the future maybe not just Gen Z but also millennials. According to the United States Census Bureau, the number of citizens between 18 and 29 grew 16.1% from 2000 to 2010. This age group showed the most significant increase in Democrats (+26.3%), and among these young voters, a majority (54%) are registered to vote. These voters are more likely to live in a household with internet access, explaining why youth have transitioned from the internet to politics.
The millennial generation will be the largest voting block in the next United States presidential election, and they are also more likely to be environmentally minded. Suppose these voters are made aware of the energy crisis in the Middle East and the importance of alternative energy sources. In that case, they could sway in a more liberal direction than current polls indicate. As a result, climate change will be a significant focus of every election going forward.
In a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll, most (54%) of 18-29-year-old voters stated that climate change is a significant issue for the United States. That action must be taken to reduce carbon emissions. Furthermore, a recent USA Today/Gravis poll found that if young people are given a specific issue to vote for in the presidential election, it would be climate change. According to the poll, among this age group, 61 percent would vote for protecting the environment. In comparison, just 28 percent would vote for the more traditional issues of health care and economic issues.
Young people are now more likely than any other voting bloc to say that climate change is a serious problem and are also more likely to say that the Earth is warming. They are also more likely to say it is caused by human activity (54 percent vs. 43 percent).
The energy crisis will not be solved by any incremental action on our part. It will only be resolved when the oil-producing nations either take the necessary steps to curtail their emissions or face the consequences. If the former, we will all suffer a “global recession.”
We have the technology to resolve both issues through technological improvements and more efficient energy use. We need to get ourselves to grips with it. In my view, the only hope is for humankind to take the first steps towards a brighter future.
Election Voter turnout a critical issue
The problem facing us due to rising sea levels, crop failures, extreme weather conditions, drought, massive floods, and species extinction could be catastrophic if we do not act now.
If you are registered to vote then it will be easy for you to register for our campaign on sustainable home ownership.
Michael T. Thomas