Perhaps President Barack Obama has personally lost Millennials, but the 18-33 age group remains solidly liberal, as Thursday’s analysis from the Pew Research Center showed.
But the issue isn’t just that young people tend to be liberal.
The issue is that there’s a distinct age divide within the group of people who identify as Republican, while within the group of self-proclaimed Democrats, no big age gap seems to exist.
According to Pew’s findings, nearly half — 41 percent — of Millennials are consistently or mostly liberal, with another huge chunk — 44 percent — saying they’re “mixed.”
A scant 15 percent of people polled between the ages of 18 and 33 told Pew they were either consistently or mostly conservative.
When the groups are broken apart by political affiliation, plenty of young Republicans (17 percent) say they’re actually liberal, while in the Democratic camp, only three percent of Millennials said they were actually conservative.
While many pundits peg social issues as being the wedge that drives Millennials away from the Republican party, Pew’s analysis showed that Millennial Republicans disagreed with older Republicans on a wide range of issues, from homosexuality to immigration to the notion that corporate profits have gotten too high.
Of course, it’s quite possible that Millennials are still figuring out what they believe and are confused along the way, as evidenced by the study that found 75 percent of Millennials identifying as pro-choice — and 65 percent also identifying as pro-life.
(Yes, that’s a lot more than 100 percent, meaning many Millennials apparently hold diametrically opposed beliefs at the same time.)
And Republicans have further cause for hope: As the New York Times reported back in July, events that occur in late teenage years are three times as powerful in affecting a person’s political views as events that occur when someone is 40.
The Times’ analysis showed that people who grew up under a well-regarded Republican president tended to become more conservative later in life, while people who grew up while John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon were presidents were far more likely to be liberal in their older years.
With an approval rating hovering around 40 percent, Obama could be setting the stage for today’s liberal Millennials to become tomorrow’s conservatives.
This story has been updated.
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