WSJ: Polls Show Millennials' Support of Democrats Wanes

Wednesday, 26 Mar 2014 04:22 PM

By Aaron Stern

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Analysis by The Wall Street Journal of two recent polls suggests that millennial voters, a stronghold for Democrats in recent elections, could be up for grabs.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News Poll released two weeks ago showed that young voters have slipped considerably in their support of the Democratic Party. Nearly 50 percent of young voters viewed Democrats favorably in 2009, just after Barack Obama's election to the White House, and that figure has dropped to 36 percent.

Today, just over half of millennials disapprove of Obama's performance, up from 38 percent two years ago. Approval of Hillary Clinton has declined, too, according to the poll.

"Riding the updraft of Mr. Obama’s big 2008 win, Mrs. Clinton had a nearly 60 percent approval from voters under 35 in early 2009," Neil King Jr., wrote in the Journal. "By this month, that had fallen to 42 percent in the Journal poll."

The decline in Democratic fervor among young voters doesn't mean they have switched allegiances – only 35 percent of young voters view Republicans favorably.

It could mean, however, that Republicans have an opening through which to appeal to millennials. A similar poll released earlier this month by the Pew Research Center showed that young voters are decidedly liberal on social issues but feel little allegiance to political parties.

"Both parties will see opportunities in these numbers and pursue young voters aggressively," King wrote.

Republicans will have to tread carefully, but could capitalize on skepticism of far-flung wars, wariness of domestic surveillance, and a general embrace of the generally libertarian views of young voters – all of which could mean that Rand Paul " may have a wider lane than most other Republican candidates when it comes to appealing to the young," King wrote.

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