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Are young people leaving or joining GOP in Trump era? New study provides interesting answer

A new study produced by the Pew Research Center has found that since December 2015, about two months before the first presidential primary contest, more young Republicans have “defected” from the Republican Party and now identify as Democrats or lean in favor of the Democratic Party. (2016 file photo/Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A new study produced by the Pew Research Center has found that since December 2015, about two months before the first presidential primary contest, more young Republicans have �defected� from the Republican Party and now identify as Democrats or lean in favor of the Democratic Party than the number of Democrats who have defected to the Republican Party over the same period.

According to the study, released on May 17, 23 percent of young people aged 18 to 29 who identified as Republican in December 2015 said in March 2017 they now identify as Democrats or lean in that party�s favor. The data used to conduct the Pew study were extracted from the responses of 5,154 �panelists� from six surveys taken in �December 2015, April, August, December 2016, and March and April 2017.�

The data used in the study were weighted in an attempt to account for multiple perceived biases in the study, such as differences in people who agree to participate in studies compared to those who don�t.

The Pew Research Center also found an additional 21 percent of young people stopped identifying with the Republican Party at some point during the study period but returned by March 2017. Only 53 percent of young people remained Republican over the entire study.

By comparison, 76 percent of young people identifying as Democrats kept that identification throughout the entire study. About 12 percent left but later returned, and 9 percent switched to the Republican Party.

Interestingly, when all age groups were taken into account, the researchers found nearly identical results for the two political parties. From December 2015 to March 2017, 78 percent of people identifying as Republicans remained Republican over the entire study period, while 9 percent left but returned and 11 percent switched to the Democratic Party side. Similarly, 79 percent of Democrats consistently identified with the party over the same period, while 9 percent left but returned and 10 percent left and did not return.

Of those surveyed in April who had defected from the Republican Party, 84 percent said they disapproved of President Donald Trump, with 57 percent saying they strongly disapproved. Of those who defected from the Democratic Party, 62 percent said they approve of Trump�s performance in the White House.

Trump�s approval numbers have been steadily worsening since his inauguration and have been particularly poor in May. The Real Clear Politics average of approval polls taken from May 11-25 shows 39.9 percent of respondents approve of Trump and 54.2 percent disapprove.

In the week leading up to the 2016 presidential election, the RCP average showed Hillary Clinton beating Trump 46.8 percent to 43.6 percent.

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