Americans aged 13-30 are much more libertarian than liberal, says a Reason-Rupe report. That’s important for California Republicans to know because that generation represents close to one in five voters. In five years, that number will grow to one in four voters.
Millennials have oft been described as the enigma generation when it comes to politics. They eschew party labels but overwhelmingly supported President Obama in 2008 and 2012. Why would a generation, saddled with student loan debt, living with their parents, underemployed, vote for a President with such a poor record on economic freedom?
Millennials are optimistic, perhaps more so than any generation before it:
Is alienation from these most traditional pillars of society getting them down? Not in the least. Millennials are more likely than their elders to believe that the nation’s best days are ahead and to trust that they’ll have enough money to lead the lives they want.
Moreover, millennials value personal freedom, so much that when the Reason-Rupe survey asked them about same sex marriage, fully 2/3 support it and 25 percent said they would reject a candidate who opposed it, regardless of where he/she stood on all the other issues. That, in itself, should run chills down candidates’ spines.
Their anti-authoritarian streak isn’t limited to social issues though. Millennials think government is inept, inefficient, and doing too much. They support privatizing social security accounts, lower taxes, and less government spending.
Communicating with them will be hard. They don’t identify with political parties, organized churches, or traditional institutions in civil society. They live in a digital community and policy ideas are what move them politically.
Political consultants should read the full survey. It’s 105 pages and is pretty detailed. A good opportunity exists for the California Republican Party if we place our emphasis on fiscal issues and minimize the social issues in the conversation. The candidate who is viewed as the greatest advocate for personal freedom wins these voters over. That’s something worth of consideration.