Enthusiasm Gap

Growing Enthusiasm Gap Amongst Young Adult Voters

They said we were going to be the foundation of a new Democratic movement. They labeled us as a generation upon which Democrats could build a political dynasty. They thought we bled blue.  They were wrong.

A little more than a year after Barack Obama won 18-29 year olds by a 2-to-1 margin, young adults are changing course. We were wooed by the promise of “change”, only to find a year later that things have changed for the worse. Washington is different, but only because it is bigger. Government’s spending has transformed, but only in the sense that they are more profligate. The reach of government into our lives has been altered, but only because their arm is longer. This is not the change we voted for and we’re taking note.

A new poll by the Harvard Institute of Politics is the latest evidence of the growing shift of young adults towards the Republican Party. The reason? The poll suggests there is a growing lack of trust in governmental institutions to do the right thing and a concomitant desire to reduce its scope.

As President Obama and Democratic leaders continue to try and expand the role of government, young adults are beginning to push back. This is becoming most palpable in the growing enthusiasm gap found among Millennials. As Harvard’s Institute of Politics explains,

“A warning sign for Democrats in Congress – young Republicans under 30 are statistically more likely than young Democrats to say that they will ‘definitely be voting in November”

Other key takeaways showing the Republican momentum among young adults:

  • Among Millennials, more than 2-in-5 (41%) Republicans will definitely be voting, compared to 35% of Democrats
  • Of voters 18-29, those who voted for McCain are more likely to say they will definitely vote than those who voted for Obama (53%-to-44%)
  • Young adults who disapprove of President Obama’s job performance are more likely to vote than those who approve by a 35%-to-30% margin

This represents the perfect time for Republicans to become the brand of change that young adults are looking for. Our lifetimes have been filled with examples of government failure. Whether it be an education system that has seen no statistical improvement despite ever-increasing federal funds, or a entitlement system that looks more financially untenable by the day, we have been given little reason to trust that the government is the answer to our problems. As the party of limited government, Republicans can capture the hearts and minds of young conservatives.

But we must be active in our approach. As the voice of young conservatives, College Republicans stand are in the perfect position to educate and activate a new generation of Republicans. We can succeed where Obama and Democrats failed.  The Harvard poll asked,

The question at this moment is: Will our political leadership in Washington and around the country heed this new call – a call for Millennials to make government work and follow through on the bright promise that a generation dedicated to public service has come to passionately believe in?

It is clear that Millennials are looking for answers somewhere. Democrats in Washington have given all the wrong responses. Republicans now stand in the wings, waiting for their chance to heed the call in November 2010. But they cannot win without the support of young adults. College Republicans stand prepared to fill the void – to channel the energies of a generation who is ready for real change and looking for a party willing to give it to them. The enthusiasm is on our side and College Republicans will be there to capture it.

by Brandon Greife, Political Director of the College Republican National Committee

Read more: www.collegerepublicans.org

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