The Vanishing Young Republicans

Yesterday's departure of Sen. Arlen Specter from the Republican Party re-opened the debate over the ideological direction of the Republican Party. Did the GOP move away from Specter, or was it Specter that left the GOP? Where do the American people fall?

My focus on this site over the last few weeks has been on young voters. And most of the news I have had for the Republican Party has been bad news, presenting a picture of a young cohort less convinced of the virtues of limited government, more supportive of gay marriage, and more inclusive of minority groups less prone to voting Republican.

In all of this, the overall ideological makeup of young voters has not yet been examined. Are young voters more liberal than older voters? Are they more likely to identify as Democrats? Recently on The View, Meghan McCain declared that 81% of young voters identified as Democrats. Though I appreciate Ms. McCain's efforts to draw attention to the GOP's troubles with young voters, the number is greatly exaggerated (and I would argue that exaggerating the problem does the cause no favors).

Pollster Piece Figures.003.png

But the actual numbers are not much more pleasant for the GOP. According to the EMR exit polls at the presidential level, in 2008, 45% of voters 18-29 identified as Democrats while only 27% identified as Republicans. The gap between Democratic and Republican identification has not been so wide since 1976 when only 19% of voters 18-29 identified as Republican. Yet in 1976, young voters did not flee the GOP for the Democratic party. The above figure shows that voters left the Republican Party and became independents that year; Democrats actually saw a 7 point dip among 18-29 year olds in 1976 as well.

The 2008 shift is most concerning for the Republican Party in two ways. First, it shows the highest proportion of young voters identifying as Democrats since 1972. Second, it shows the largest gap between 18-29 year old party ID and overall party ID in that same time frame. Consider 1976, when the post-Watergate voters abandoned the GOP. In that year, Democrats enjoyed a 16 point advantage over Republicans overall. The gap among 18-29 year olds was 21 points - large to be sure, but not so different from voters overall. Yet in 2008, there was a more marked difference between young voters and the overall electorate. While Democrats held a 7 point advantage over Republicans in terms of party identification overall, that advantage jumps to 18 points among voters 18-29.

However, in terms of ideology, while young voters are quite different from voters overall, the major change did not occur this year or even this decade. In 2008, "Liberal" made a one point gain among young voters, "conservative" a one point loss. The change in young voters didn't look terribly different from the change (or lack thereof) overall, a surprising finding given the major shift in partisan identification.

Pollster Piece Figures.004.png

What is interesting is to take a look at 1992, when liberal overtook conservative among young voters. Conservatism took a five point hit that year, but took an 8 point decrease among young voters. Meanwhile, "liberal" picked up three points overall, but picked up seven points among young voters. Ever since 1992 re-calibrated the ideological makeup of the young electorate, the "liberal" label has outpaced "conservative".

Even odder, take a look back at the first chart of party identification. In 1992, the year the young electorate began identifying "liberal" more often than "conservative", the partisan makeup of young voters was actually more Republican than voters overall. So is ideology simply not as linked to partisan behavior? Or did the ideological shift in the early 1990's simply wait to manifest itself in 2008 as a party identification shift due to a different ideological alignment of the parties themselves? The Republican Party in the 1990's and early 2000s was able to attract young voters despite the fact that young voters were more likely to be liberal than conservative. Even as recently as 2004, Democrats only had a 2 point advantage among young voters.

Between 2004 and 2008, young voters' more liberal ideology started to match up with their partisan identification. A center-left young electorate (emphasis on center) was no longer evenly divided between the parties. As for reasons why, there are countless theories that have been offered to explain the shift. Some say young voters felt out of touch with a GOP that had nominated an older candidate (indeed, look at 1996 when the Republican Party ran the older Bob Dole against Bill Clinton). Some say the Republican Party moved to the right and became an unacceptable option for young center or center-left voters. Some may point to Obama himself as a large driver of young voters affiliating with the Democratic Party.

In order to evaluate the claim that young voters left the Republican Party because of the allure of the Obama candidacy, it is helpful to look at the 2006 election and a handful of midterms preceding it. If the Obama candidacy itself was driving young voters to become Democrats, we would expect to see young voter party identification that was similar to overall party identification, or at least we would expect to see behavior that makes sense in the context of the previous election or two. Yet while in 1998 and 2002 there were roughly equivalent numbers of young Republicans and young Democrats showing up at the polls, in 2006 there was a massive shift toward the Democrats ending in a twelve point Democrat advantage in party identification [in the electorate overall, that advantage wound up being two points, a far smaller gap].

Pollster Piece Figures.005.png

As it turns out, young voters began abandoning the Republican Party long before Barack Obama was even a serious contender for the presidency. Those pinning the Republican Party's poor fortunes among young voters on the Obama candidacy miss the source of the problem and certainly underestimate its severity.

I've been troubled in recent months when discussing the issue of young voters with some fellow Republicans. There seems to be a sort of conventional wisdom that we should expect young voters to trend liberal and Democratic, that the behavior of young voters in 2008 is not serious cause for concern. This stems from a belief in partisanship as a life-cycle factor, that voters start liberal and Democratic and wind up older, conservative, and Republican. But the data paint a very different picture. Take the graph of partisan identification for instance; over the last few decades, young voters have not identified with the Democratic party in substantially higher numbers than voters overall. Even conservatism had its moment among young voters in the 1980's. Yet with the end of the Reagan presidency, young voters shifted toward liberalism. This ideological shift did not play out into actual partisan identification in a meaningful way until 2006 and 2008.

Another bit of conventional wisdom I hear from my fellow Republicans about the youth vote is that they need to vote Democratic twice before they are "locked in for life", supporting the notion that there is still time to turn the tide among this generation. Unfortunately, given that the shift began in 2006 and not 2008, for many voters the GOP may simply be too late. For the rest, if the Republican Party does not take immediate action to repair its brand, this generation may exhibit similarly low levels of Republican identification for years to come.

(This item has been cross-posted at

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There are many reasons for this

but I think there is one reason above all else: Iraq.  What was the big political event that occured in that time span.  Young people are very likely to know someone who died in Iraq.  It was likely that for every soldier who died in Iraq, a couple hundred anti-war Democrats were created.

There are other reasons for the drift to the left among young people, but this strikes me as the precipitating event.

I'd also like to suggest another important factor

I'd also like to suggest another important factor: urbanity.

Urban culture is "cool".  Republicans are, at times, agressively anti-urban. On the other hand, you have Barack Obama. I can't remember who, but someone made the astute observation that he was the first presidential 100% urban candidate - he made no attempt to try to play up rural connections or establish "ties to the land" - even though his mom was from Kansas.

he sure did when he was in Kansas!

but most of the time he tried to seem like a reasonable bloke who was in touch with even arugula farmer's organic issues...

He ain't Tester, who compares the senate floor to his grandfather's barn (and treats each with the knowledge of the legacy that he3's inherited). I, for one, am glad of a President that isn't trying to pose.

leftwing indoctrination in schools and colleges

Iraq is a key reason for the 2002 to 2006 shift.

But the secular trend of more youthful liberalism is also due to bias in academia. There is a huge leftwing imbalance on college campuses these days and in schools themselves; stas shows almost 11 to 1 ratio of liberals to conservatives in faculty, and in liberal arts it is even more extreme. leftwing professors have gotten to the point where they freeze out conservatives completely, ruining the careers of 'dissidents'. At the same time, indoctrination and agenda-pushing of leftist issues is rampant on campus, along with "political correctness".

When you have a leftwing media, leftwing academia and an education system that fails to teach American traditions and values, but pushes the leftist agenda, the result is natural: Many unthinking and unintelligent people who dont think critically fall reflexively into a state of liberalism. While the tilt has been around for decades, it has gotten much much worse in the past decade.

Sooner or later "reality hits" and these non-thinkers might shift. In some cases not (or they end up disconnected, not realizing that their liberal ideology is the source of the many social ills they see). reality for the Reagan generation was the failures of the Carter administration and 10% unemployment. We may well see younger voters come back to the GOP once the abject failures of Obama's overspending, higher taxes, socialized medicine, de-industrialization via cap-and-trade carbon taxing, etc. hits home.

Also, I would not an irony - REPUBLICAN mayors like Guliani made many US cities more livable again but cutting crime. Eliminating the crime concerns revived cities and helped Democrats politically.


It's not hard to figure out

It's easy to see the GOP's problems.

Party mantra:

  1. We don't like gays
  2. We don't like immigrants
  3. We think Obama is a tyrannical fascist communist dictator
  4. We don't like Muslims
  5. WAIT, who DO we like besides southern white straight people who love guns and hate gays, immigrants, and muslims(e.g. Obama)?

We also don't care about the plight of those college students who finish college under tremendous debt after graduating to enter a terrible jobs market.

Pretty simple.


It's not hard to figure out the secret of the Democrats success

they simply lie, slander, defame and deride Republicans and do everything they can to throw mud at them. The race card, the gay card, the immigrant card... whatever it take. Throw truth under the us.

"We also don't care about the plight of those college students who finish college under tremendous debt after graduating to enter a terrible jobs market."

Lemme guess - "not willing to add to US debt for another failed big-Govt liberal program" equals 'dont care'.  OTOH, the Democrats dont care about college graduates because their policies will CREATE a terrible jobs market for years to come!

Remember, everytime you vote Democrat, a puppy dies.


every time you make an Americano, G-d kills a puppy.

geez, get the fucking slogan right! or at least close to right!

The sockpuppet unwittingly makes a point

The problem isn't that the GOP platform doesn't like immigrants, it's that the GOP leadership is too dumb and too corrupt to be able to correct that misconception. One way to do it is to point out that the Democrats (and some Republicans) want to help illegal aliens at the expense of their own fellow citizens via the DREAM Act. It would be incredibly easy for the GOP to have a serious impact on the careers of the DA's supporters, but they can't figure that out or the right way to do it. And, even if they were able to figure it out, they're too corrupt to oppose the bill.

 I think the younger people

 I think the younger people do not view gay marriage or even abortion as a concern. We have seen a social conservative in the White House and the country is in a mess, everything has been mismanaged, and we have seen just how far right the republicans will go. A very destructive situation by the right. The younger people like their blackberrys and I phones. They are not concerned with social issues.

As Chris Palko said Iraq is more of concern, but we also have the perfect storm.

a financial crisis

a housing crisis

an auto crisis

a recession or near depression

free trade and the loss of middle class jobs

1 trillion dollars went to the Middle East

Swine flu


When you have these problems, who cares about social issues. The old republican guard keeps saying the same things (failed ideology) over and over again. And nobody is listening.

Not caring about human rights of the unborn

"I think the younger people do not view gay marriage or even abortion as a concern."

Yes, there are many ignorant people who dont care about human rights of the unborn. Maybe some don't care because they have never seen a sonogram, watching a preborn human being in the womb have a 140/minute heartbeat. It's quite understandable. Many teenagers are self-centered and dont 'get' certain things unless they grow up a little. Some young males are pro-abortion because for purely selfish reasons it will get them out of tight spot if they get a girl knocked up.

Being concerned about marriage is not a big deal either for single people, unless you care about the future of our civilization and realize that the melting away of tradition marriage an families is sending us into a demographic civilizational decline (ie below replacement rate, out-of-wedlock birth rates astronomical etc.) For young single folks, family/shmamily is probably the thought. Single people do not 'get' family issues for the same reason white people dont 'get' concerned about racial profiling.

Most social conservative issues, such a life and family issues, are issues that people who care about the wider society and are guardians of our civilizational success would find of concern. Selfish people who havent yet grown up will never see it as a 'concern'. We *should* be educating children on the importance of family, wider understanding of life etc. but  see post on leftwing indoctrination. It doesnt happen, unless that young person is a good Christian. That is part of the story - the left is successfully indoctrinating kids away from sensible understandings of the importance of traditional American values.

Better then for the GOP to appeal to young people on bread and butter, like the fact that the Democrat agenda is the most ANTI-JOBS agenda in a generation - higher taxes, job-killing cap-and-trade and EPA regs, debts and deficits that crowd out private sector financing....




 I guess I have to take the

 I guess I have to take the attitude on social policies as that 'it is none of my business.' Children can learn values from their parents and from religious upbringings. I would be leery of any religious teachings in our schools, except on some scientific and historical arguments in the classroom.

You have talked of traditional American values, but is it an American value to destroy our jobs or to believe in failed ideologies? Like the last 8 years?

The Bush agenda has destroyed jobs. Higher taxes are already coming as we did not pay for the war or for the tax cuts that Bush had. Debt and deficits again it was Bush who did not deal with it. Even Cheney said "deficits don't matter." Seems like someone is talking with a forked tongue.

On the cap and trade I do not agree with Obama on this. 

You have criticized Carter and I do agree that Carter did not know how to deal with the economy, but he did not create the inflation that was troubling the country. That inflation goes back to LBJ. LBJ wanted to escalate the Vietnam War and his Great Society programs. This was called 'guns and butter.' And by doing so he had the federal reserve print money and inflation developed. Inflation is a lagging indicator of some 3 years. Nixon tried to deal with inflation with 'wage and price controls' and failed. Ford dealt with inflation with 'WIN buttons' and failed. Carter did not know what to do and failed. In his last year Carter he got Paul Volcker in as head of the fed and and under Reagan, he raised interest rates to 21.5% on the prime essentially beating inflation. So it was some 20 years of higher inflation, higher interest rates, and higher unemployment. And since those days of Reagan and Volcker, inflation, interest rates, and unemployment has come down.

When Bush took office, Bush inherited a surplus from Clinton and Gingrich. Bush pulled his own 'guns and butter.' That is the Iraq war (deficits) and his tax cuts (deficits). So the Bush economy ran on deficits or a false economy. And we saw the decline of the Bush policies during his last year in office, even before the financial crisis. 

And if you are concerned on family values, then what do we do with the lost jobs that have gone overseas. This 'free trade' is devastating in the Midwest. Cities and States are going broke. The jobs have been leaving for several years now, and it is destroying small businesses as well. The republicans have given no answer on this. The republicans have given no answer in paying for the war. And as I have said, it was Cheney who said "deficits don't matter." We have seen a social conservative as president for 8 years and he ran the country in the ground by staying the course, by being ignorant and arrogant. I saw the problems 5 years ago and now we have a multitude of problems to deal with.

You can look at the long term graph of unemployment. (image)

I do believe we will see higher unemployment because of higher deficits as you say. But also on slow growth, it will take many years to fix this mess, and our middle class jobs have left the country and no one has come up with an answer to fill that void.



I care, but its not the government's decision

In reply to your concern that the GOP might be selling out in attempt to attract the youth crowd by weakening its stance on abortion or human rights, I would reply that it is not the governments concern. It is very much the concern of the individual and private and public charities, but the governments role is to preserve liberty, not enforce moral conformity.

I despise the idea of abortion, but yet am pro-choice because I believe that government attempts to prohibit or restrict access will only make these people turn to illicit services that entailing great risk to their own health. If you want to prevent abortion, do outreach work and get involved. Don't expect the state to solve this problem in any sense.

As far as human rights go, what can be said? We were allies once with Stalin. The bottom line is that we should be emmissaries of the benefits of free society when we visit these countries and their nationals come to our shores or vice versa. In viewing the benefits of a free society, they will endeavour to emulate us if we set a good example. China saw the benefits, and while still dogged by human rights problems, is a much freer place both economically, spiritually, and religously than it was under Mao.  I doubt it would be the case if had continued a policy of ignoring her.

If anything, the youth vote is trending pro-life

There’s a place in the party for pro-choice Republicans. But my generation takes legalized abortion for granted. That’s not the GOP’s problem with the youth vote. As was pointed out above, it wasn’t a problem for Ron Paul.

Bob Putnam’s “Bowling Alone” made a strong case that America is losing its civic virtue. Good organizations suffered through the culture wars of the late 20th century. Boy Scouts were de-funded because of their positions on faith & sexuality. Right-wingers also tend to attack labor unions. Young people on both sides of the aisle are concerned about the death of civil society.

That doesn’t mean we’ve moved past the (legitimate) disputes over gay marriage, abortion & guns. We’re just tired of watching good organizations use these issues to destroy each other. Why can’t the ACLU cooperate with the NRA to defend the Bill of Rights? Why can’t pro-life adoption agencies integrate with Planned Parenthood?

Obama is a Democrat hack. National Journal dubbed him “most liberal Senator” in ‘08. He still successfully tapped the culture war fatigue. Republicans have failed on this count. We need policy proposals that highlight our natural alliances with interest groups traditionally aligned with the other party. That’s how Obama reached across the aisle on ethics reform, nuclear proliferation & the death penalty. There’s no need to abandon principle.

We can start with Gay Marriage. Both sides claim that “Civil Union” proponents are on their side. Supporters of Gay Marriage especially take this group for granted, claiming that these are homophobes who are gradually warming to the idea of Gary Marriage. Not so. Youth are trending against criminalizing homosexuality. But we’re equally opposed to the idea of forcing churches to accept Gay Marriage. Republicans can make inroads, here.

The silver-lining of legalized Gay Marriage is that it we will be able to point to concrete examples people using “gay rights” to harass traditional marriage supporters:

Again, youth are increasingly opposed to criminalizing sexuality. But they care deeply about the breakdown of civil society. The GOP should respect both of those trends.

Stance on soc issues turn youth deaf to other Gop policies

The social issues make the GOP look like a 'Dangerous: Do Not Enter Sign'. Conservatives could still fool young people with the same nonsensical policies they've always advocated. Heritage Foundation, and other think-tanks, talk radio, and Fox News still have a platform and they still misinform.

The social issues make the situation untenable to young people. That intolerance keeps them away full stop.

Style Over Substance

What the data suggest to me is that young voters tend to be swayed not so much by positions or ideology, but popularity.  When Ronald Reagan was at the height of his popularity, young voters flocked to him.  Ditto Bill Clinton.  Ditto George Bush even.  And Obama is the very definition of the rock-star candidate.  It is the cult of personality.  So if we want to win in 2012, all we need to do is find the suave, young, hip, cool, popular candidate.  Style over substance (which might be considered the slogan of the Obama campaign).  It doesn't seem to be connected with the "social issues", was Ronald Reagan any less pro-life than George Bush?  No, it's all about the image.

young voters are a lagging indicator.

they went to Obama because the creative class decided that voting Republican was no longer acceptable (at one point, the creative class was consistently republican).

The creative class Defines cool -- it's not the candidate.

Watch the McCain girls, and then you'll understand.


When the people who take up arms against you are the creative class -- tghe most active, enterprising, innovative class... you get Tulza. You get Palin's crazy wardrobe. You get Palin's husband spying on her sister's exhusband. And you get Palin participating (not organizing) a witchhunt in Wasilla while she was mayor.

Catch those? The creative class is a master at messaging, at finding what will be popular. What will catch fire. (not Mccain's infidelity, nor his gambling problem that unscrupulous allies of ours *cough* Israel*cough* might use to spy on our president).

And yeah, they're all a bunch of geeks who ride bikes to work.

wow that was terrible

yes, obama and reagan were considered "cool", but as others have noted, the demographics of young voters now cannot even be compared to the demographics in the 70s and 80s. The country as a whole was more socially conservative back then; now you have presidential candidates with multiple spouses, congressmen that hire prostitutes and remain in office, and a majority of people having children out of wedlock. yes, younger voters like people that are different from the status quo, but only if they agree with the politician's views. i know plenty of young conservatives that wouldn't even consider voting for obama.

i think ron paul and romney were popular with the younger crowd for a reason...they were different. not part of this "country-club" image that the GOP can't get away from. as opposed to the 70s, young people (myself included) are more likely to have friends named Hussein, more likely to know and be friends with gay people, and thus don't even begin to resemble people that grew up during the reagan era. style over substance...the GOP tried that with Palin, remember? the GOP doesn't even mention issues important to young people...meanwhile obama can talk about any issue relevant to that demographic.

What group of young people is Romney popular with?

I agree with all of your last paragraph except for the Romney tie-in.  Other than his religion (which made him popular among the BYU crowd, at least, so I guess that's one group of young people), Romney - at least to me - is the epitome of the Republican "country-club" stereotype.  Did I miss something?   

i dont know too many young republicans

but a kid i went to college with was supporting his campaign, and my ex-roommate (president of the college republicans) supported his effort.

i think romney never seemed the country club type because he was from massachusetts and wasn't trusted by the republican base.. i know his dad was in politics, but he just never seemed to fit in the with rest of the party. i actually think his religion had a lot to do with it, he seems to have a good family life, and you compare him to limbaugh or newt and their multiple marriages, any social conservatism doesnt seem laughable when he talks about it. he seems like he genuinely understands the concept of a strong family. but that's just me.

as for young people, comparing him to george bush, who isnt intelligent, and much more than romney, got to where he was because of his father, and they just seem different. he also looks a lot younger, which stands out when everyone else is old with gray hair. i think romney represented a chance for the republican party to be more business focused, with slightly less social emphasis, something young people in both parties could want.

Reagan was never 'cool'

I remember the brain-dead idiot wacko liberal roommate in our off-campus housing saying on the night of Reagan's re-election that democracy was dead. He shaved his head and was an artist type. aka 'cool'.

Reagan was hated as much as GWB was by the left - more so actually. He was never 'cool' to the folks hanging out in college coffee shops wearing John Cusack style trench coats and smoking foreign cigarettes, reading Chomsky and trying to be existentialists. Hollywood except for a few old friends didnt like Reagan. The Reagan supporting youngsters had Alex Keaton aka Michael J Fox as the cultural stereotype. preppy or nerdy or both, but not 'cool'.

Reagan was POPULAR. BIG DIFFERENCE. Ordinary people, flyover country, Reagan democrats, etc. like Reagan. The heart and soul of America, the very UNCOOL part of America that waves the flag, loves the country, pays the taxes, and loved Reagan's winning the cold war without getting us in a hot one ... they loved Reagan.

But that's okay ... cool aint cool, cool sucks:

hollywood had good reason not to like Reagan...

he got a lot of his competitors blacklisted as "reds"

Chemjeff: Ron Paul and youth?

If it's all about image, how do you explain Ron Paul's success with young people?  He was by far the Republican primary candidate most successful with young people and he's hardly the picture of 'cool' in the sense you describe.  He's a white 70-something guy from Texas; demographically, he's the stereotypical 'picture' of the GOP so it clearly wasn't his 'rock star' image that generated their enthusiasm.

Yes, he has some fringe ideas (gold standard comes to mind) but to my college-age daughter his 'back to basics' approach to personal liberty, fiscal prudence and national defense were very appealing.  She and her friends were aware of his pro-life position, and even those who are pro-choice were willing to accept and respect his pro-life stance.  (Caveat:  His pro-choice supporters among her friends expressed that realistically they weren't concerned about the pro-life position because they felt they could bank on the fact that after 40 years the chances of Roe being overturned are slim to none anyway.) 

My theory:  they viewed his position on national defense as much more rational than pre-emptive war and nation-building around the world; those who are pro-life could support a pro-life candidate without having to buy into the rest of the more extreme socon agenda; and his strong stand for personal liberty.

It ain't 1980

This isn't 1980. The demographics have changed. The exodus of Dixiecrats and neocons to the GOP gave them a majority starting in the late '60s. The deal with the christian right ushered in conservative dominance in the '80s. That base has stagnated, while the electorate is more diverse. The youth have grown up as the country has moved left. 

I don't discount those voters could be convinced of GOP economic policies. They can't be convinced of GOP racist and intolerant policies, and that outweighs all other matters.

The youth of today are an inclusive group. They respect everybody's rights and concerns. The GOP doesn't, and it's as clear as day.

skayne + racist Republicans

Skayne, if we Republicans are just a bunch of racists, why do you even bother coming here?  Why do you choose to associate yourself with a bunch of filthy racists such as ourselves?  Why do you choose to hang out with people who are intolerant, people who don't "respect everybody's rights and concerns"?

The problem with ideology polls is...

that what people actually believe and how they categorize themselves is not necessarily the same. GOP aligned talking heads have spent years narrowly defining "real conservatives" and demonizing all "libruls." So if you're in that still squishy part of ideological/political development called your late teens and early twenties, you might feel one way about issues and say the opposite thing based on your understanding of the definition of the labels. To an extent, those less politically active may hold these misunderstandings for life. So while you might hear Rush spewing forth about liberals and conservatives on talk radio in your dad's car, you (in your early 20s) might label yourself an independent because you're OK with gay marriage and therefore obviously not a conservative, even though you believe in conservative values on a majority of other issues. Meanwhile, your 18 year old sister, a true blue liberal won't label herself that way because it's basically the equivalent to calling herself a "terrorist" based on her life experiences with that word. So while these two (who poll as "moderates") may balance each other out, the existence of these two types is likely not a 1:1 ratio. By the time you get out of college or hit 25, you probably have a better understanding of what these words mean and therefore the polls become more accurate with increasing age. Additionally, the labels liberal and conservative in the lexicon have become skewed in comparison to the dictionary definition that the word "conservative" currently has a macho subtext in the US (or at least did for the last several polls). Add on top of that a large percentage of people like to think of themselves as being "moderate," even though they are likely far from being moderate. These things no doubt skew the polls the point of being of marginal use, if at all useful. With the macho subtext and liberal label taboo, both losing their influence as you age, it seems these factors would point to the situation being even worse for conservatives than the ideology poll implies. The voting results of the 18-29 crowd during the last election certainly point to that being the case, especially when you consider how "liberal" both McCain and Obama are relative to the rest of their respective parties. I would also add that the parties define the words, not the other way around, as evidenced by the difference in meaning between the US and other English speaking countries (esp. Canada and the UK); many ideas that are "liberal" in the US are moderate or conservative in Canada and the UK (see heathcare for an example).


One thing not mentioned is a lot of these kids are in college living on Federal Aid. Any kid that age wants to party and graduate and get a good job

Second, unless you are a star athlete or an idiot movie star you generally do not make any money until you are 40.  They are going to get taxed heavy to support our national debt and payroll taxes will be raised or the caps will be lifted on Fica. 

I run a good sized accouting firm i have worked hard for, if Obama steals my money i will cut down on the business i do and i will fire employees.  I will not support his socialism and i will downsize my business.  Our grandkids tax burden will be through the roof by the debt he will incur. 

Once these kids get their income hijacked by Washington they will sing a different tune.





Since when is return to the Clinton-era tax rates "theft"?

if Obama steals my money

Since when is return to the Clinton-era tax rates "theft"?

Obama is stealing our future

$40,000 per household in new debt due to his huge deficits,

$3900 per year costs in cap-and-trade Global Warming Tax, with $3100 direct cost per year per family and another $800 in economic losses (ie SHIPPING US JOBS TO CHINA WITH OBAMA'S DE-INDUSTRIALIZATION PLAN)

More costs in healthcare due to higher regulations, passed on to taxpayers

Smokers pay higher taxes

Volker commission to try to find $300 billion in "revenue enhancement" ...

proposal to soak the upper middle class with higher payroll taxes to bail out Soc Sec ...

all this ON TOP of his plan to increase taxes on upper-end income earners.

Obama has about 6 different ways he's got to STEAL THE TAXPAYER MONEY and steal the future prosperity of the nation.

Socialism is a prescription for poverty, and Obama writing it right now.

Obama wants to raise payroll taxes

OBAMA: "You could cut (Social Security) benefits. You could raise the tax on everybody so everybody's payroll tax goes up a little bit. Or you can do what I think is probably the best solution, which is you can raise the cap on the payroll tax." - in Missouri.

Raising the cap raises the payroll tax for millions of Americans. When Obama promised no higher taxes for people making under $250,000 - HE LIED.

Lots of other Obama lies there as well. What a whopper for him to claim he's 'saving jobs' when we HAVE LOST ALMOST 3 MILLION JOBS SINCE HIS ELECTION!

I see now

If you don't understand what he's trying to do in trying to raise the caps, and if you think those job losses aren't due to the recession that happened for over year on Bush's watch, I see why you people are in the minority.

breaking the pledge

Oh I understand what he's trying to do.  He's trying to temporarily make Social Security solvent by raising taxes.  But, he would be raising taxes on people who make less than $250,000 a year, which is in contradiction to his very clear campaign pledge.  I don't think his intentions are evil, but he's breaking the pledge nonetheless.  Skayne, in another discussion you claimed that you support Obama but that you do not "mindlessly rubber stamp" his agenda.  Here is a clear case where Obama's critics are right to call him out on breaking a campaign pledge.  Why won't you, as an intellectually honest Obama supporter, do the same?


Because you don't understand he's not raising the tax rate. He's raising the limit of money  that sees soc security taxes.

At about 100 grand, you no longer are taxed on social security. If you're a millionaire, soc security taxes don't even affect you. He's saying the well off need to start constributing.

If you are employed and make 2 million dollars, you pay around 6 grand in soc sec taxes.

If you are employed and make 100 grand, you pay 6 grand in soc sec taxes.

Do you understand?

Skayne clueless

Because you don't understand he's not raising the tax rate. He's raising the limit of money  that sees soc security taxes.  -skayne

Which is a tax increase. The cap goes up every year, it is indexed. Do you understand? It increased from $102,000 in 2008 to $106,800 in 2009.

So a person making $150,000 gets a tax increase of $3,304 per year.

Obama said families making less than $250,000 would not pay "one more dime" in taxes and in fact get a tax reduction.

He also said that payroll taxes (FICA) are taxes when defending tax credits to people paying no income taxes.


He proposed a donut

On the campaign trail, Obama said he would raise the ceiling but he would try to impose a "donut" so that it doesn't affect income under 200 grand.


The end result is the same

If you think about it, the "doughnut hole" closes a little each year (per the index) and eventually closes completly. Besides, if he doesn't eliminate the cap completely, it won't even begin to close the gap.

It's just an option

It's a proposal. Not a law. He didn't get too detailed on it. He would flesh it out the best way possible after consulting with advisors. Then it would be debated in congress.  


Its another math problem

I was sitting in the lounge at O'Hare yesterday and caught part of his town hall. He carefully explained that Social Security wasn't in trouble, it was just that the baby boomers were retiring and so there were more people getting checks than there are workers making contributions.

In my business when you are spending more than you take in, we call that "potential bankrupcy". You can really do one of two things, decrease spending or increase revenues. AARP will see to it that current benificiaries don't miss a dime.

My guess is that there will be a reduction in benefits or a needs test for future recipients (those under 50 now) and elimination of the income cap on contributions.

you are apparently unfamiliar with startups

where spending more than you take in is a Continual Always Done sort of thing. Hoping to strike it rich,a s are your stockholders.

Yes RT

I was unaware that Social Security was a "startup" program. I thought it had been around for 50 years or so, and if it had been properly managed would be solvent.

touche, you win this round.

if they hadn't raided the social security trust fund over the years, it would still be solvent in perpetuum.

you voted for that, i didn't!

breaking the pledge, breaking the pledge

I am not arguing the merits or demerits of Obama's particular plan.  All I am pointing out is that he is breaking his campaign pledge that those making under $250,000 would not have their taxes raised "a single dime".  He didn't say tax RATES, he said taxes.  In fact he even repeated his pledge in his quasi-SOTU earlier in the year.  But, you refuse to admit that he's breaking his pledge.  Oh well.  I guess I was expecting too much.

Chemjeff I think I've got it

no tax increase, but a "revenue shortfall contingency fee".   :)

What can i say?

You people don't pay attention. Reagan and W raided soc security surpluses to help pay for tax cuts. Clinton was using those surpluses to pay off soc security debt.

If a donut doesn't satisfy you as not raising taxes, what can I say? Conservatives screw government up. You people vote them in and they tell you don't expect them to make government work.


the banks already done stole your money.

sorry, obama's going to use the only option he has =-= which is NOT raising taxes.

enjoy your inflation, and hope it gets you out of debt.

Blade, meet nose.

Take that face!


Put the youngsters to the test.

Hey, if all the college youngins wish to be democrats, raise their taxes to pay for all the programs they've been indoctrinated to identify with. Set the tax rate for everyone under 25 to 75-80%. They want it, they got to pay for it.

Social Secutiry and Medicare

Then we should be free to stop paying into Social Security, Its not like we will ever see the money....

Eroded Principles

The primary reason that the Republican Party is finding itself marginalized and realising "Demographics is Destiny'," is that they have completely abandoned the principles of limited government.

Coming from a young person who has just voted in my first presidential election, (was too young for Bush versus Kerry), the Republican Party still supports or supported the following policies of big government, during the prior election.

Aggressive Wars

1. Bush and his staff either lied or, at the very least , were duplicitous in making the case to go to war in Iraq. Iraq couldn't and wouldn' attack us. End of story. Besides, why did we give him a chemical weapons program to begin with. Iran-Iraq war anyone?

2. Assassination\rendition and trial would have the correct way to deal with Osama, not an invasion of a country that had not previously attacked the USA.

3. I have to brothers in the Army, one is in Iraq. It affects my voting when I see one candidate pushing for peace and one advocating stay the course. A large amount of the youth vote have friends and family serving in the armed forces, and are hesitant to have them in harms way except in cases of neccessity. I don't see the neccessity of defending against islamic terrorrism more than the neccessity of gaurding against traffic accidents, which kills far more in the USA each year than all acts of terror combined.

The War on Drugs

1. The question of drugs and pharmaceuticals is something for the states to handle, not the feds.

2. Its a question of personal freedom versus state coercion; "In order to protect you from yourself and society we are going to put you in a facility where you will likely be sodomized" is not at all appealing to young people.

3. The same goes for all laws attempting to regulate morality. Abortion; stem-cell research, gay marriage, etc. Let the states decide for themselves, but fundamentally the government has no place in these domains. These issues are best handled by the outreach of private charities, the church, the synagogue, and the mosque.

The Bailouts & Fiscal Irresponsibility

Despite the encouraging brief return to principles when the republican house representatives voted against the bailouts, they had still had people like McCain pushing for government intervention.

You folks had the House, the Senate, and the presidency, and you still did not try to balance the budget or deal with the unfunded medicare and social security obligations. Nor did you restrain from interfering in the housing markets by pushing banks to make more loans for housingg, leading to the causes of the housing bubble.

National Service

National Service is a polite term for slavery, it is one group of voters subjugating another group of voters via the ballot box to have them serve the government; whether as conscripts, "volunteers", etc. McCain advocated National Service. As the youth is the one target by this initiative, I don't see any particular reason for themm to prefer Repub to Democrat in this regard.


There was no physical it was possible for anyone to read the Patriot Act that the republican controlled house and senate voted for, yet they voted for it. It gave god like powers to the executive branch, usurped the rule of law and the bill of rights, and these incompetent numbskulls didn't even read the damn document.


I am reminded of the saying, "A country cannot be a welfare state and have uncontrolled immigration, " and that applies in the policies witnessed in Mexico. But from much of the republican party there has been no discussion of immigrant reform, mostly cries of  "they should follow our procedure and laws." I would invite you to read the regulations and the hurdles required to even get a temporary visa to work in the USA and to realise that people flout our laws because the procedure is too complicated and costly when compared to crossing the desert with coyotes. And the xenophobic undercurrents of the some of the debates make my blood run cold.


I will never vote democrat, but I am hard pressed to see anyone in the republican party that is willing to endorse a consistent policy of limited government, fiscal responsibility, and respect for the limits of our constitution. That is not to say the democrats are better, but they tend to at least stick better by their stated principles, whereas GOP has completely tossed them to the wind.Your party is doomed unless you go back to the principles.

I invite commentary and discussion regarding this post.


good post

so you'll never vote for a democrat....will you stay home if you don't like the republican candidate? or will you consistently vote for republicans, even though they have "tossed their principles to the wind"?

i think the GOP has completely failed on recognizing the importance of fighting two wars and the correlation to the youth demographic. i have 4 cousins in and out of iraq, and my best friend's husband is going to afghanistan next January. how many people over 35 have family and close friends overseas? it's one thing to talk about the war, something completely different to get a call on christmas from troops stationed in iraq. when you hear about the violence, and see the toll it takes on families, as you noted "staying the course" is easier said than done.

what's more fun is getting christmas cards from

muslim friends in Iraq. This after a six month silence that had led you to conclude they were probably dead.