Millenials: Liberal or Libertarian?

The conventional wisdom about the latest generation of American voters is that they tend to be socially liberal but economically and fiscally conservative. These are the same voters that came out in huge numbers for Barack Obama. A survey from The New America Foundation, however, seems to contest the notion of younger voters as more libertarian: 

The report indicates that the cohort skews more liberal on economic and social issues.Barack Obama was no doubt a draw during the 2008 presidential contest — he and Joe Bidenwon 66 percent of the under 30 vote nationally — but these younger voters also self-identify as liberals over conservatives in greater numbers than the broader voting population. Meanwhile, 45 percent of young voters said they were members of the Democratic Party, compared with 39 percent of all voters. All this means that the group’s overwhelming support for the Democratic ticket during the 2008 presidential contest isn’t simply a flash-in-the-pan phenomenon, experts say.

They tended to see the government as less wasteful than their older voting peers and more supportive of unions. Whether or not these trends are lasting or related to the Obama movement is an interesting question. However, still interesting fodder for anyone working on how the Republican party can regain a significant share of younger voters.

  1. February 20, 2009 at 10:04 am

    I would say our generation is more liberal, especially socially, but there’s a limit.

    I think our peers want government to provide things like health care, but we are going to want to choose what services we use and which doctors we see. “Managed” government care will be very unpopular.

    That, I think, is where the Republicans can come back. Not by promising to stop government health care, but by making a credible claim to allow choice in government services.

    I think Obama “gets it” in terms of making sure government allows choice. Congressional Democrats, by and large, do not. Republicans have to hope congressional Dems take control of the process, as they did with the stimulus.

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