N.H. (Reuters) - Enthusiasm for the Democratic Party is waning
among millennials as its candidates head into the crucial midterm
congressional elections, according to the Reuters/Ipsos national
online survey of more than 16,000 registered voters ages 18 to 34
shows their support for Democrats over Republicans for Congress
slipped by about 9 percentage points over the past two years, to
46 percent overall. And they increasingly say the Republican Party
is a better steward of the economy.
nearly two of three young voters polled said they do not like
Republican President Donald Trump, their distaste for him does not
necessarily extend to all Republicans or translate directly into
votes for Democratic congressional candidates.
presents a potential problem for Democrats who have come to count
on millennials as a core constituency - and will need all the
loyalty they can get to achieve a net gain of 23 seats to capture
control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November.
voters represent an opportunity and a risk for both parties, said
Donald Green, a political science professor at Columbia University
in New York City.
not as wedded to one party,” Green said. “They’re easier to
convince than, say, your 50- or 60-year-olds who don’t really
change their minds very often.”
Hood, 34, an African-American who works at a Dollar General store
in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and took this year’s poll, said he voted
for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
he will consider a Republican for Congress because he believes the
party is making it easier to find jobs and he applauds the recent
Republican-led tax cut.
sounds strange to me to say this about the Republicans, but
they’re helping with even the small things,” Hood said in a phone
interview. “They’re taking less taxes out of my paycheck. I
Reuters/Ipsos poll surveyed young voters during the first three
months of this year and the same period in 2016.
28 percent of those polled expressed overt support for Republicans
in the 2018 poll - about the same percentage as two years earlier.
that does not mean the rest will turn out to back Democrats, the
survey showed. A growing share of voters between ages 18 and 34
years old said they were undecided, would support a third-party
candidate or not vote at all.
shift away from Democrats was more pronounced among white
millennials - who accounted for two-thirds of all votes cast in
that age group in 2016.
years ago, young white people favored Democrats over Republicans
for Congress by a margin of 47 to 33 percent; that gap vanished by
this year, with 39 percent supporting each party.
shift was especially dramatic among young white men, who two years
ago favored Democrats but now say they favor Republicans over
Democrats by a margin of 46 to 37 percent, the Reuters/Ipsos poll
Reed, a white single mother of three in New Hampshire, said a
teenage fascination with Democrat Barack Obama led her to support
his presidency in 2008. But her politics evolved with her personal
now 28, grew more supportive of gun rights, for instance, while
married to her now ex-husband, a U.S. Navy technician. She lost
faith in social welfare programs she came to believe were misused.
She opposed abortion after having children.
plans to vote for a Republican for Congress this year.
I got older, I felt that I could be my own voice,” she said last
month in Concord, New Hampshire.
the road from where Reed lives lies New Hampshire’s 1st
Congressional District, a hiker’s paradise of evergreen thickets
and snow-capped lakes where young white voters make up about a
quarter of the electorate, compared to 21 percent nationally.
district’s House seat has changed parties five times in seven
election cycles and is up for grabs this year after the Democratic
incumbent declined to seek re-election.
Hampshire’s Democrats have an early edge in voter enthusiasm after
a string of victories in races for state legislative seats, said
Christopher Galdieri, a politics professor at Saint Anselm College
a campaign event at the University of New Hampshire in Durham,
Mindi Messmer, one of eight Democrats running in the primary
election, touted her work as an environmental crusader. But
students in the crowd also raised many other issues, notably the
come to school here, and then they move away because they can’t
get jobs,” said Acadia Spear, 18, of Portsmouth.
said she would likely vote for a Democrat, but her peers
nationally are increasingly looking to Republicans for economic
leadership, according to the Reuters/Ipsos poll.
are almost evenly split this year over the question of which party
has a better plan for the economy, with 34 percent picking the
Democrats and 32 percent choosing Republicans. That’s a shift from
two years ago, when they said Democrats had the better plan by a
Messmer, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of
Representatives in New Hampshire's First Congressional
District, speaks to a UNH College Democrats meeting at the
University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire, U.S.,
March 28, 2018. Picture taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Brian
Manchester, the biggest city in New Hampshire’s 1st District,
tattoo artist Ashley Matthias, 31, said she has not decided how
she will vote but will support anyone who will make her health
insurance more affordable.
she drilled an eagle in black ink across a client’s shoulder
blades, Matthias explained that it is cheaper to pay for her
doctor’s visits out-of-pocket than to buy insurance through the
government-run Obamacare exchange.
just hope nothing happens to you,” she said.
FOR THE YOUTH VOTE
the bruising loss in the presidential election of 2016, the
Democratic Party learned it needed to reach young voters on their
turf, including on social media and at college campuses, said
Elizabeth Renda, who specializes in reaching young voters for the
Democratic National Committee.
of having real conversations with them, we settled for TV ads,”
Renda said of the 2016 failure.
this year, the DNC launched its “IWillVote” initiative, aimed in
part at registering millennials to vote. The party also will run
ads via social media and text, and it plans to send buses to
college campuses on election day to bring students to the polls.
Democratic National Committee declined to comment on the Reuters
poll. Republican National Committee spokeswoman Cassie Smedile
said the poll indicates that young voters “like what they’ve seen”
from the party in power.
Republican committee plans to target young voters in part through
a pilot program to get out the vote at six college campuses,
New Hampshire, Eddie Edwards, one of two Republicans running for
Congress in the 1st District, said he pitches millennials on ways
the government should help college graduates pay off their student
loans. He also argues that public secondary schools must better
prepare students to find jobs without attending college.
is a generation that has much more access to information than
others,” he said. “Unless you’re addressing those issues that are
important to them, it’s hard to get them involved.”
Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English throughout the
United States. It gathered about 65,000 responses in all during
the first three months of 2018 and 2016, including 16,000
registered voters between the ages of 18 and 34 and nearly 11,000
registered white millennial voters.
poll has a credibility interval of 1 percentage point, meaning
that results may vary by about 1 percentage point in either