A recent poll revealed data from the 2020 election that should have Republicans worried. The study showed that a sizable majority of young voters supported Joe Biden for the presidency.
The younger generation is growing steadily more supportive of the Democratic Party while the GOP struggles to attract members of this voting bloc. The lack of outreach to other vital demographics is likely the leading cause of this disparity. This problem could easily evolve into an existential crisis for the Republican Party if it fails to address this issue.
Poll Spells Trouble for GOP
Catalist, a Democratic data services firm, has just released a report that indicated young voters were instrumental in securing Biden’s victory last year. The Kansas City Star reported: “Even in an election that saw across-the-board increases in voter turnout, the jump in participation from the two youngest generations was particularly notable, and the study concluded it was a leading contributor to Biden’s success.”
The report noted that the combined numbers of millennial and Generation Z voters made up a considerable share of the electorate when compared to 2016. Voters in this age group made up about 31% of the voting base last year. In 2016, they represented about 23% of the votes cast in that election.
The 2020 contest showed record-high voter turnouts among almost all demographics. But the younger generations’ increase was noteworthy because it was a pivotal contributor to the president’s victory.
Yair Ghitza and Jonathan Robinson, the co-authors of the study, wrote: “In short, 2020 accelerated a massive change in the composition of the electorate, with Millennials and Gen Z taking an increasingly prominent role in the future of American elections – a demographic change that is functionally permanent.”
The report detailed only slight changes in the level of support each party received among members of other demographics. Biden received 48% support among seniors compared to 52% for Trump, which is a small difference compared to 2016, in which Hillary Clinton received 45% of the votes from this age group.
Why Young Voter Turnout Matters
The boost in young voter turnout was overwhelmingly favorable for Biden because this demographic tends to favor Democratic candidates. The Los Angeles Times commented:
“Exit polls indicate that voters under 30 backed the Democratic presidential nominee by more than 3-to-2 over the past five elections. And as they’ve aged, they’ve continued to vote Democratic. This cohort now includes every adult under the age of 45 — half of the nation’s 209 million adults.”
The Times also pointed out that, “according to exit polls, the two-party vote among those under 45 years of age split 57%-43% in Biden’s favor, whereas those 45 and older went for Trump by a 52%-48% margin.”
These numbers seem to indicate that young America is sending a message to the Republican Party: If you don’t compete for our votes, you will lose big.
What Does This Data Mean?
If the Republican Party wishes to remain relevant, it must develop and act on a new strategy for winning over more voters. Despite talk of creating a “bigger tent” on the right, the GOP has not yet formulated an effective outreach to a broader swath of Americans. Former President Donald Trump managed to increase his numbers among minorities by refusing to adhere to the decades-long tradition of GOP presidential candidates all but completely ignoring non-white voters.
It is not yet clear that the Republican Party is ready or willing to build on what Trump achieved. Right now, there is a civil war in the conservative movement between the establishment elites who want to bring the party back to its pre-Trump days and those who are pushing for change. The victor will determine in which direction the party goes. If members of the conservative movement wish to ensure the Republican Party’s survival, they will have to teach the old elephant some new tricks.
Read more from Jeff Charles.