by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Charlie Kirk writes for Newsweek about an interesting electoral pattern.
This year’s midterms were, in a word, disappointing for conservatives. While we regained the House majority, we all wanted and expected more. This is old news by now.
But there is one piece of news that will be new to the vast majority of Americans because it’s either been completely misrepresented or ignored altogether. There are emerging signs that the Democrats’ supposedly unbreakable hold on the minds of young people is weaker than it seems.
Sure, American young people are liberal. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. But did you know they’re getting less liberal? This is true on two levels: America’s ultra-liberal Obama youth vote of a decade and a half ago has moderated significantly, and the “Zoomer” or Gen Z vote of the present is less liberal than millennials were at the same age.
In 2008, voters 18-29 years old voted 66-32 for Barack Obama over John McCain, a 34-point landslide. More than one pundit speculated that, as these voters aged and their elders died, they would create a permanent liberal majority in America.
Fourteen years have now passed. Those millennials who favored Obama by 34 points are now in their 30s and early 40s, and their voting pattern might surprise you. In this year’s midterm, voters aged 30-44—essentially the same voters from 2008, but older and wiser—favored Democrats by just four points, 51-47. Instead of remaining in lockstep with Democrats their entire lives, millennials are officially a swing vote.
How about today’s young people, the “Zoomers?” In the midterms, 18-29-year-olds voted Democrat 63-35, or 28 points. That’s a one-sided margin, to be sure, but it’s 6 points closer than it was for Zoomers’ millennial counterparts when they were the same age. And there’s an even more interesting data point buried in exit poll numbers: the younger half of that cohort, those aged just 18-24, was the more conservative half, favoring Democrats by just 25 points.