The Democratic Party has, for years, enjoyed more support from younger Americans, but that appears to be changing and just in time for the very important 2024 election.
Contrary to the Democrats’ belief that younger generations would diverge from the historical trend of increasing conservative sentiments over time, aging millennial voters are exhibiting a growing openness towards the Republican Party.
The shift in attitude challenges the notion that the political preferences of previous generations would not be replicated among today’s youth.
Nate Cohn, a journalist with The New York Times, recently shared data revealing a notable shift towards conservative values among voters under the age of 50. Those individuals, who initially supported former President Barack Obama’s campaign and opposed the Iraq War, now find themselves detached from the current direction of the Democratic Party.
The trend is particularly significant among the older segment of millennials, with nearly 50 percent of those born between 1980 and 1984 now voting for Republican presidential candidates, Cohn found.
This pattern mirrors the voting preferences of the youngest Generation X voters preceding them. While millennials born between 1985 and 1994 still predominantly lean towards the Democratic Party, they have experienced noticeable rightward shifts since 2012, when Obama was reelected, he said.
During the 2020 election, Joe Biden received 55 percent of the vote from the 18 to 29 age group, compared to 43 percent for his opponent. That level of support is approximately half of what former Obama garnered from the same demographic.
Exit polls indicated an even narrower margin: Biden secured a 51 to 45 victory among voters who were between the ages of 18 and 27 during Obama’s 2008 campaign.
Democrats have long propagated a theory asserting that disillusioned young individuals, disenchanted with war and the flaws of late-stage capitalism, would pave the way for Democratic dominance. Meanwhile, Republicans were expected to become less influential on a national scale and find success primarily in rural America.
However, according to Cohn, Republicans’ emphasis on opposition to foreign intervention and advocacy for colorblind policies on race might be positioning the conservative party as an alternative to the counterculture movement.
The shift has been particularly evident among young people in Southern states, who have played a significant role in driving former President Donald Trump’s rise in popularity, Cohn said.