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Millennial Voters Are Key To Victory In 2016

February 16, 2016

This is not breaking news, as we are all aware of what millennials mean to the presidential election season.  But this article does spell it out in a very clear fashion that shows what is at stake.

In 1980, 18- to 29-year-olds divided almost equally between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Four years later, they picked Mr. Reagan over Walter Mondale, and then George H.W. Bush over Michael Dukakis. When millennials first began voting, in 2000, 18- to 29-year-olds split almost evenly between Al Gore and George W. Bush.

But beginning in 2004, when they chose John Kerry over Mr. Bush, young people have tilted Democratic. In 2008, Mr. Obama won that age group by 34 percentage points, and in 2012, by 23 points.

For the coming election, 60% of 18- to 34-year-olds indicated that they preferred a Democrat to win the White House, and 27% indicated Republican, according to latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.

In the 2014 midterm elections, the turnout among millennials didn’t match that of other age groups—a typical pattern with young voters. Moreover, Democrats didn’t win as large a percentage of them as two years earlier.

That points to the nagging question for Democrats: whether their recent advantage has been mostly a result of President Obama’s millennial appeal.

Democrats profess confidence that their edge among young voters will outlast Mr. Obama. Republicans see opportunity to make gains because millennials are far less attached to traditional political parties than their elders.

I kind of hate to say it,” says GOP pollster Bill McInturff, “but the millennial generation is now important. Their views are becoming the dominant public views. Their attitudes about gay marriage and social tolerance are radically different than the previous generations, and they are restructuring our views.”

The shift among young voters on social issues cuts across race and party. On gay rights, 64% of millennial Republicans believe homosexuality should be accepted in society, compared with 45% of baby boomer Republicans, according to the 2014 Pew Research Center survey. On immigration, 57% of millennial Republicans say immigrants strengthen the country, compared with 39% of baby boomer Republicans.

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