Millennials Show Contempt for Democrats in Florida and Wisconsin Focus Groups
Progressives are worried that Democrats may be seeing some erosion in support by Millennials, particularly Millennials of color, according to focus-group data reported by The Hill.
If true, it would become more difficult to re-create Barack Obama’s coalition of women, minorities and younger voters — though both major political parties will have to earn the favor of independent-minded Millennials.
The Hill noted that Millennial voters of color — who represent about 44 percent of the younger adults born between 1982 and 2004 — told focus groups in Florida and Wisconsin that they felt “undervalued, ignored, and taken for granted.”
“You’re damn right I don’t have any loyalty to Democrats. If Republicans want to get real about shit that’s happening in my community, I would vote for every one of them. Then maybe Democrats would take us serious too.”
- Quote from a participant in the Florida focus group.
And it’s not just Millennials. The Hill story comes on the heels of a New York Post report that the generation after Millennials, sometimes referred to as Generation Z, are also independent but lean conservative.
This potentially represents a colossal shift in national voting trends from just a few years ago if the Florida and Wisconsin focus groups, as well as the studies of Generation Z, are accurate indicators of potential future voting behavior.
For much of the 21st century, Democrats and their media allies have crowed that the GOP’s future would likely be reduced to only a regional political party with few prospects to regain the White House and Congressional majorities.
These premature claims of the Republicans demise on the national stage have been especially ironic since the percentage of voters who identify as Democrats reached the lowest point in more than a half century.
Gallup polling data indicated that 29 percent of Americans called themselves Democrats in 2015, down from the previous low of 30 percent in 2014.
That was the lowest percentage since Gallup began polling for political affiliation in 1951 near the end of the presidency of Harry Truman, who became so unpopular that the Democratic Party would not renominate him even though he was the incumbent president.
“We are not going to get back to national majorities again without these (Millennial) voters.”
- Cornell Belcher, who helped to conduct the two-state focus groups for the Civic Engagement Fund, which analyzes past elections to boost voter engagement. The fund was founded by progressive leader Andrea Hailey.
Belcher — a top pollster who worked for both of Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns — told The Hill that the focus group results indicate the possibility that Millennials could be a problem for Democrats, especially since Millennials of color are a growing part of the electorate.
Research conducted by the Brookings Institution shows that Millennials will be the largest voting bloc in the USA by 2020, according to the July 14 report in the Hill. As of 2015, 44.2 percent of Millennials are people of color.
Disenchanted Millennials were part of Hillary Clinton’s downfall.
The Hill noted that in Milwaukee County in Wisconsin, Wayne County in Michigan and Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania, Clinton failed to turn out as many black voters as Obama.
Clinton — not Russia — lost all three states, the first Democratic presidential candidate to do so in decades.
The bottom line here?
Millennials — and the younger Generation Z — are probably dependable for one thing: their independence, which means BOTH parties will have to work hard to court these younger voters.
As Republicans consider policy options that appeal to this age group, they also need to remember Pew Research data from a couple of years ago. Millennials who identify with the GOP are less conservative than Republicans in other generations.
- Of the one-third of Millennials who affiliate or lean Republican, 31 percent have a mix of political values that are right-of-center.
- Half (51 percent) mix liberal and conservative positions.
- About one fifth (18 percent) have consistently or mostly liberal views.
- Among ALL Republicans and Republican leaners, 53 percent have conservative views.
- This contrasts with the two oldest generations, Boomers and those from the so-called Silent Majority era. Two-thirds of those groups are consistently or mostly conservative.
It all adds up to one thing: the 2018 off-year elections, as well as the 2020 presidential race, could be very interesting for politicians who are listening.
It also could mean the difference between victory and defeat for local and state GOP strategists smart enough to explore this potential shift in Florida, Wisconsin and elsewhere.
Mike Kersmarki is an author in Tampa, Fla. He currently is writing a domestic policy book: “Worker’s Party: How to Help ALL Americans Achieve Their Full Economic Potential.”