• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Millennials Lean Left, But Reject Political Parties

us-politics-republicans-democrats

A new poll shows that the youngest generation of American voters is rejecting both political parties at a much higher rate than previous generations, but digging deeper into the numbers it’s clear that Republicans will have a harder time attracting these voters than Democrats:

Half of millennials identify as independents up from 38 percent in 2004, according to a new poll.

These are the highest levels of political disaffiliation the the Pew Research Center has recorded for any generation in its 25 years of polling.

But more millennials have Democratic leanings — half identify as Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party compared with 34 percent who identify as Republican or lean toward the Republican Party, according to the survey.

Millennials hold the most liberal views on many political and social issues, including same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization. Sixty-eight percent support gay marriage, up from 44 percent in 2004. During the same period, the proportion of Gen Xers who support same-sex marriage increased from 40 percent to 55 percent and the portion of Boomers increased from 30 percent to 48 percent. Even more millennials approve of marijuana legalization — 69 percent, up from 34 percent in 2006.

On abortion and gun control, millennials’ views do not differ as much from older generations.

Millennials are more approving of Obama than older generations — with almost half —49 percent — approving of how Obama is handling the presidency. Gen Xers and Boomers approve about equally, with 43 percent and 44 percent approving respectively.

Support for bigger government was also highest among millennials (53 percent) compared with Gen Xers (43 percent) and Boomers (32 percent).

In other words, even though millennials identify as political independents to a greater degree than other generations of voters, they still tend to hold views that are more likely to lead them to vote for Democrats rather than Republicans. Given that, Republicans looking for good news in the fact that the generation most closely identified with President Obama seems to be rejecting the party more than previous generations need to be cautious in the enthusiasm. Quite obviously, when it comes to the issues that motivate voters the millennial generation is still more closely allied with Democrats than Republicans, and that is going to remain the case as long as the GOP continues to hold fast to the socially conservative agenda that it is most closely identified with.

At the same time, of course, Democrats shouldn’t be jumping for joy either. The fact that a majority of younger voters don’t identify with either party seems to be indicative of the dissatisfaction that they have with politics in general. The optimism of the Obama campaign of 2008 and been tempered, harshly, by the reality of governing over the past five years and it hasn’t been pretty at all. Will these voters be as enthusiastic for a post-Obama Democratic party as they were when he was at the top of the ticket, or will they follow the example of previous generations of younger voters and return to the practice of sitting out elections? One need not look very far to see what can happen to Democrats if younger voters stay home, because we saw it in the 2010 elections. In 2008, according to the exit polls, voters age 18 to 29  accounted for 18% of the electorate and voted Democratic by a 66% to 32% margin. In 2010, again according to the exit polls, that same demographic accounts for just 12% of the electorate and voted Democratic by a 55% to 42% margin. While this change in the millennial vote isn’t the sole reason that Democrats performed so poorly in 2010, the fact that some of President Obama’s most ardent supporters decided to stay home that year certainly didn’t help, and it’s not going to help Democrats in 2014 either if the same thing happens this year.

As time goes on, we’ll likely get a better idea of where this generation of voters stands. Most likely, though, we’re looking at a group that is going to be largely liberal when it comes to social issues while at the same time being cynical about the political process as a whole. That’s likely to present challenges for both political parties.

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    Yeah, they’re not Democrats, they’re Liberals. No joy there for the GOP.

    But as I’ve been whining for some time, the fact that the GOP is batsh!t crazy has allowed the Democratic Party to coast along without any sort of innovation, any plan for the future, any sense of how we should evolve. We’re too self-congratulatory and insufficiently creative and rigorous. Which is what happens, I suppose, when the competition goes crazy.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 2

  2. Neil Hudelson says:

    Quite obviously, when it comes to the issues that motivate voters the millennial generation is still more closely allied with Democrats than Republicans, and that is going to remain the case as long as the GOP continues to hold fast to the socially conservative agenda that it is most closely identified with.

    I think the values of millenials, while important, is only half (ok, maybe two-thirds) of the equation. The other factor is what they’ve been exposed to in their political lifetimes.

    I’m at the older side of millenials, born in the mid 80s. I came to political awareness around 9/11 (as probably did most of those born in the 80s), and went from politically unaware, to supportive of Bush as reflex to the attack on the twin towers. From there I watched my classmates and family enter a mismanaged war, saw gay marriage bans used as a cynical ploy for Bush to win re-election, Katrina, the Terry Schiavo travesty, invasion of Iraq on what seemed like sketchy grounds, Abu Gharib, finding out the real reason for invading Iraq, and then finally the greatest economic disaster since the Great Depression.

    Through all that I also saw a Democratic party that wasn’t worth much, but wasn’t all that harmful either.

    At this point, the millenials were already primed to be democratic supporters. Obama may have rallied them, but they were already there. Since then we have watched a Republican party offer death panels, “bomb Iran,” Obama is a Kenya/marxist, threaten government shutdown, more death panels, threaten government shutdown, poor people deserve no help, threaten government shutdown, global warming is a hoax, evolution is a hoax, militarize our borders/deport our neighbors, BBBEEEENNNNGGGGHHHAAAAZZZZIIIIIII, Mitt “Forty Seven Percent” Romney, actually shut down our government, Benghazi?, let’s ban gay people.

    We have been consistently given a choice between two parties: one that is mildly incompetent but which sometimes addresses our biggest concerns, versus a part that has transitioned from very incompetent, to dishonest, to batsh!t crazy over the course of our political lives. Which one would you support? You’d support the mildly incompetent part, but not very wholeheartedly.

    So yes, the social conservative agenda of the Republicans do play a big part. The other big part? A decade of insanity that in no way gives us any reason to vote for a Republican.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 66 Thumb down 1

  3. gVOR08 says:

    @Neil Hudelson: I’ve said for years that the Democratic Party is a bunch of amateurish liars and thieves. Republicans are professional (liars and thieves). It ain’t much, but the choice is clear.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  4. gVOR08 says:

    I think a big part of what you’re seeing here is the tremendous success of the Republican messaging machine; first at demonizing Democrats, then as hubris kicked in, making themselves look insane. No wonder party identification is down.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  5. PJ says:

    About party identification, lots of Tea Party members say that they reject both parties, but they still end up voting for the Republicans somehow…

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  6. C. Clavin says:

    On a very basic level I have to assume millennials are better educated than previous generations…and for the life of me I cannot see how an educated person can vote Republican. Every position they take is based on total nonsense, and cannot stand up to the most basic scrutinizing. Just look at their current crush on Putin…it defies logic. And yet their they are…worshiping an authoritarian regime.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  7. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:
    If you need further proof of this just read some of what’s being said at CPAC.
    From Paul Ryan making up stories about school lunch kids, to Huckabee talking about the Government kidnapping children, to Jindal comparing Eric Holder to George Wallace…when in fact Holders sister was actually kept out U. of Alabama by Wallace.
    Today’s Republican party is nothing but a bunch of whack-jobs.
    And Millennials, by-and-large, aren’t stupid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

  8. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:
    Another CPAC winner…
    Michael Medved stood up and claimed no state has ever banned same-sex marriage…and to say so is a liberal lie.
    The truth?
    http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/state-constitutional-marriage-bans

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  9. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:

    in fact Holders sister was actually kept out U. of Alabama

    My bad…it was Holder’s sister-in-law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  10. Andre Kenji says:

    Republicans can´t be the Party of Medicare(and of no coverage to anyone else) and the Party of Millennials on the same time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  11. Millennials hold the most liberal views on many political and social issues, including same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization.

    The tragedy for the GOP is neither of these issues is really tied to progressivism in a philosophical sense and have only become to be seen as left wing issues due to Republican parochialism.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  12. C. Clavin says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    exactly…a Conservative argument can be made for both of those things…and for Obamacare.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  13. Ron Beasley says:

    @C. Clavin:

    On a very basic level I have to assume millennials are better educated than previous generations

    Every thing I see that just the opposite is true. I was an employer for 30 years and found that employees just continued to be less educated. That included both high school grads, college grads and everything in between. I think it started when my generation, the baby boomers, started having children. For some reason the parents didn’t have time to help their children with school work. I was an exception and not only helped my two sons but their friends would come over in the evening for help. Many of these other children had parents who were school teachers but still couldn’t find time to help their own.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  14. walt moffett says:

    The rejection of party identity should make for some interesting primaries and political ads.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  15. al-Ameda says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Michael Medved stood up and claimed no state has ever banned same-sex marriage…and to say so is a liberal lie.

    Why bother with reality when you just make it up?
    Basically, Medved showed up, crapped on the carpet, and left – leaving the others to fact-check and clean it up. No negative consequences for Michael.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  16. john personna says:

    Well, you heard it here first. I’ve been talking the trend for years now. That youth are at the forefront – that’s the way it usually works out. Not everyone is flexible enough for big changes in middle ages, or beyond.

    Usually there is calcification of belief.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  17. gVOR08 says:

    @Stormy Dragon: True. Neither same-sex marriage or marijuana legalization were really pushed by liberals. It was more a matter of being accepted by liberals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  18. john personna says:

    @this:

    lol, you poor dumb downvoter. you roll all over the top article being right, until you remember it was the argument you couldn’t take from me before.

    1. Buy mirror.

    2. Stare deeply therein.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11

  19. Bandit says:

    The vanguard of the moocher class. Big gov’t dependents + OWS losers.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 17

  20. john personna says:

    A down vote is a great way to resolve cognitive dissonance, isn’t it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  21. Davebo says:

    Actually Millennials should be prime pickings for a Libertarian party to attract.

    To bad there is no Libertarian party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  22. Dave D says:

    From where I sit as a millennial there is no reason to identify with either party. I voted for Jill Stein in the last election because Obama had played too centrist and abandoned a lot of what he campaigned on in 08 to try and, strike deals with people who had no interest in dealing with him then or now. At the same time because American politics as of recent have never had a real long view no matter what gets passed all we hear is how our generation is going to pay for it. Two unfunded wars we’ll pick up the tab. Unfunded medicare part D expansion we’ll pick up the tab. Bailing out the banks that destroyed our economy and the continuation of buying off their bad debt which is still occurring we’ll pick up the tab, Increased spending for social security and medicare we’ll pick up the tab. On top of that we leave schools with what every older generation says is subpar thousands and thousands of dollars in debt. This keeps us from buying homes or starting families in some cases. And why do we bear the brunt of all of this, because for the past 30+ years as the post war economy slowed it was politically risky to talk about like Carter did, and out of the question to raise taxes. In fact as spending sky rocketed un Reagan they cut taxes. We will be waiting forever for trickle down to actually work, but hey at least our parents could make a living wage and have historically low taxes while putting the burden of their government on our backs.
    At the same time we are paying for the government services of people who apparently hate government, no one could dare talk about how to pay for these because old people vote in higher numbers and you better keep the government out of their SS checks. We get sold out by both sides, but only one continuously talks shit about us. All the time the right rails against how stupid and selfish and poorly educated and poorly trained to illustrate that not only are we dumb but also as proof that government spending is bad somehow. How many times has SD or Pinky disparaged millennials as nothing more than a bunch of video game playing nothings. The economy is wrecked which hits us harder. We basically have to go to college to make a decent wage which bankrupts us, unless we are lucky enough to have rich parents or what I did was work full time third shift while doing my undergrad so I could have a place to live, The system has basically failed us and we only hear how we are going to have to pay for said system which was destroyed in the name of record low taxes. Why reject the GOP? They are on the wrong side of history but also the broken record of low taxes and reduced spending makes for a poorer society with less upward mobility. Why reject the Dems? They pay lip service to the working poor and young while advancing no programs that would help them, but at least aren’t bigots when it comes to social issues. Both sides protect their monied interests while pandering to their largest voting base boomers and older. We are a demographic that is being ignored at best and constantly being threatened with a bill for services we have not and likely will not receive. God Bless America.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  23. john personna says:

    @Dave D:

    The millennials are a post-depression generation:

    https://twitter.com/ReformedBroker/status/439816043121225729/photo/1

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. Just Me says:

    Of my millennial children I find that my most liberal voter is the kid who follows politics the least. My most conservative child probably follows politics the most closely. The other two are middle of the pack-on is not impressed with either party but leans democratic and the other really doesn’t like Obama and most democrats on the federal level but likes some of the democrats at the state level.

    So I would say to some degree millinials just aren’t easily pigeon holed-one impression I do have is that the days of party loyalty where you vote for whoever has the right letter by their name are likely over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  25. Dave D says:

    @john personna: I am still no where near washing and reusing ziploc bags like my grandmother does. That said I have more cash than I should at home while paying down my debt. But that us because maxing out my 401k doesn’t make sense to me yet, cash always spends and no penalty.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  26. superdestroyer says:

    Just another confirmation that the U.S. will soon be a one party state. The millennials do not like the state of politics in the U.S. now. So they will get to experience what a one party state looks like in the near future. Image what happens when all of those “independents” who always vote for the Democratic nominee realize that the Democratic nominee is the only candidate on the general ballot. I suspect that virtually all of them will quickly register as a Democrat in order to vote in the closed Democratic Party primaries since those primaries will be the real elections.

    The future looks great for incumbent Democrats since most voters will automatically vote for them and since they will never have real primary opponents.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 13

  27. superdestroyer says:

    @Davebo:

    the last thing the millennials want is a libertarian party. Do you really think the millennials would give up federal entitlements, jobs, and programs while actually accepting responsility for their own actions. What millennials would probably prefer is big government libertarian-ism where the individual can do what they want but the government backstops all bad decisions while punsihng through very high taxes people who make good decisions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

  28. Rob in CT says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    This pretty much nails my experience, though I’m slightly older (born ’76).

    It’s not the Dems are great. They’re not. But two things:

    1) Great isn’t realistic. This is a major problem on the Left, as far as I can tell. There are a lot of people holding out for magic purity pony candidates, or just totally apathetic (they all suck, maaaaaan).

    2) Not-horrible is way better than horrible.

    @superdestroyer: @superdestroyer:

    Oh my FSM, shut the F*CK UP about your one party state bullshit.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  29. Rob in CT says:

    @Dave D:

    There’s a lot of sense in this post, but man I really hope you voted for Stein b/c you were in a state that wasn’t in play. Otherwise… yikes.

    The Dems certainly could do a better job. Part of that, though, involves people who are generally in line with their ideological lean being inside the tent pushing for what you want, rather than saying “a pox on both their houses” and thus having basically no influence on anybody. I used to think protest votes mattered. They do not, unless they’re in a block with a very, very clear message. Just voting Green doesn’t really do that, IMO.

    The Teahadis may be a bunch of loons, but one thing they understand is that they need to work within our (shitty) two-party system. There is no “Tea Party.” It does not exist. They’re Republicans. They’re a faction *inside the tent*

    Lefties dissastified with the Dems for being too centrist/plutocratic need to also be in the tent (screaming, sure, but inside).

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  30. superdestroyer says:

    @Rob in CT:

    A study comes out showing that the U.S. is really headed to being a one party state and everyone is just suppose to ignore it. The Democrats and progressives have won. Conservative politics is dead, and that the voters are the future are very comfortable with a much bigger government, much higher levels of taxes, and a much higher level of government regulation.

    The only question for the future is what are the impacts of the millennials being automatic Democratic Party voters. How will policy and governance be affected? I guess refusing the face reality is a requirement for progressives these days. Or do progressives really believe that groups inside the current Democratic Party will walk away to support some form of green party when all of the former Republican voters start voting in the Democratic Party primaries?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  31. Kari Q says:

    An independent who “leans Democratic” is as good as a Democrat from the angle of who they will vote for. Not quite as much a given is that they will vote at all. If the Democrats can get them to vote, then the GOP is going to be forced to change, finally. It can’t happen too soon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  32. Dave D says:

    @superdestroyer: You literally just described what the boomers have done to this country in the past 30+ years but projected it on to my “lazy”and “entitled” generation. But seriously I await the wave of retiring people marching in the streets to pay for the entitlements they underpaid into because they don’t want to be mooches like us who still have 30+ years of work ahead of us before retirement becomes even a passing thought. Sorry we just can’t accept “responsibility for our own actions” coming from your generation that says an awful lot.

    @Rob in CT: I live in Iowa and I voted for Stein because her platform most mirrored my views. I have several friends that work in left leaning NGO’s here and get to see how the big tent treats their pushes. I understand the premise of your argument, it just seems like a chicken or the egg. We aren’t taken seriously as a voting bloc which keeps us from participating, which makes us a voting bloc not worth taking seriously. But as SD pointed out there is no grand GOP scheme for us because we are just a bunch of entitled mooches not willing to pay our fair share. The best thing that could happen for us would be to open up the caucuses to everyone and not just based on party affiliation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  33. Dave D says:

    @Rob in CT: Also a big part of casting that vote was my confidence in Nate Silver because had we been more competitive she would not have received my vote because a President Romney was not something I was willing to contribute to. Especially since Stein received my vote a large part due to her stance on business regulation which likely wouldn’t have existed anymore under a Romney Presidency.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  34. superdestroyer says:

    @Kari Q:

    And how does the Republicans survive by becoming the Democrartic-lite party? Pandering to people who heavily lean toward the Democratic Party just makes the Republicans irrelevant faster than the current demographics changes will be. Look at the Republican Party in states like Mass., Maryland, Vermont, or Rhode Island to see what happens to a moderate, go long with the Democrats party. Isn’t it just easier to admit that the era of conservative politics is over and that the U.S. will become a one party state.

    Since the millennials do like party politics it will probably like the coming politics of clouts and fixers doing virtually everything behind the scenes and the total irrelevance of the general election.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  35. Tillman says:

    @superdestroyer:

    And how does the Republicans survive by becoming the Democrartic-lite party?

    I don’t know, SD. How did the Democrats survive by becoming Republican-lite in the ’90s? They internalized low taxes and a pro-business agenda then. The Republicans will learn to adapt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  36. Tillman says:

    @Dave D:

    We aren’t taken seriously as a voting bloc which keeps us from participating, which makes us a voting bloc not worth taking seriously.

    The Tea Party started mailing tea bags to Congress, and they had some rage on their side. OWS at first seemed like it would try something for the Democrats, but then they rejected any kind of institutionalization or really any sort of coherent governing structure (the hand signals at their meetings alone were horrendous). It kept them from being co-opted by the Democrats as the Teas were by the Republicans, but they as a movement accomplished much less.

    The Teas have accomplished a lot since they can threaten to primary someone and actually get results. The Democrats don’t have a similar bloc. The key to changing the tent isn’t to sit out elections, it’s to rile up a base to participate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  37. Barry says:

    @john personna: “The millennials are a post-depression generation:”

    ‘Post’?

    Also, that graph is BS. Of course Millennials will have a higher percentage of savings in cash – they have fewer savings.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  38. john personna says:

    @Barry:

    So … you have a better chart to show that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  39. john personna says:

    More here:

    The report suggests that the conservative Millennial attitude is largely due to trauma from the Great Recession. “Millennials and WWII generation investors are more likely to describe themselves as truly conservative,” the report explains. “This is remarkable given the impact the Great Depression had on the WWII generation and speaks to the potential permanent scarring that 2008 had on the Millennial investor.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  40. Barry says:

    @Tillman: “r meetings alone were horrendous). It kept them from being co-opted by the Democrats as the Teas were by the Republicans, but they as a movement accomplished much less.”

    The Tea Party was always a faction of the GOP.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  41. john personna says:

    (Data’s a bitch, but you can always down-vote it.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  42. john personna says:

    @this:

    Seriously, some of you fought this idea for 400 or 500 posts. You refused every study I put forward. You waved them all away. You inserted your own logic for data. You demonstrated perfect confirmation bias.

    Now another study comes around, saying exactly what I did (though focused on the young), and it’s just accepted.

    Why? Because you didn’t have your back up, and you forgot to reject it (again).

    Wear it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  43. Woody says:

    First off, actual independents are mostly a myth. Look to see which candidates a demographic votes for. A party label isn’t as important to people as it used to be. Millennials are inured to labels – they see thousands of labels a day.

    Secondly, there is absolutely no downside for outright lying if one is an extremely conservative Republican. Their preferred media will promote the lie as a profession of loyalty and faith – if they can’t quite sell the lie, they’ll attack whoever points the lie out. At most, their media will simply stop airing the lie. Personally, I believe this is becoming political methamphetamine – might feel good whilst imbibing it, but it’s wrecking their judgment and turning off every non-user in the process.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  44. john personna says:

    @Woody:

    Well Woody, were you the one that downvoted above, and just “inserted your own logic for data?”

    Seriously, the pattern here is that studies roll towards there being less party identification, and yes loyalty, and ..,. people who I can only presume are older and more attached to the old view … reject it.

    “I reject this data” is not science.

    Science is “I have better, direct data,” and not something I pulled from my bottom.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  45. john personna says:

    @Woody:

    (and, Oh My God, if there was ever a red flag for cognitive dissonance [or confirmation bias] it is “they must be lying!”)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  46. Tillman says:

    @john personna:

    You demonstrated perfect confirmation bias.

    You really are calling the kettle black. I have never seen someone so convinced of their own interpretation of data as you are.

    You constantly eschew this idea that since people don’t like being labeled that the labels don’t apply to them, and that is absurd. I count as older-cohort millennial and I agree pretty much with what’s said in the article, but my experience has been most of us are closet Democrats or Republicans who don’t sign up for the party to avoid the advertising emails, texts, phone calls, and so on. That doesn’t make us magical Independents capable of switching here and there on every other issue. Examine the voting record, and this is backed up by voting data.

    (I haven’t downvoted you, but your hubris is a mighty temptation to do so.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  47. john personna says:

    @Tillman:

    Stop and think about what you just wrote.

    I accept this study and what these millennials tell us, as I accepted the earlier studies along the same lines.

    You reject, overrule, these self-reports. You insert your own experience.

    You tell me that I am the one “interpreting.” I have actually done none of that, I have taken it at face value.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  48. ernieyeball says:

    @Tillman:..It kept them (Occupy Wall Street) from being co-opted by the Democrats as the Teas were by the Republicans, but they as a movement accomplished much less.

    Don’t know if OWS would claim this as an “accomplishment” but had OWS not existed this gal might still be looking for work.

    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/former-zuccotti-park-protester-now-working-on-wall-street/

    (I hope she’s made a million $$$ by now.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  49. Grewgills says:

    @john personna:
    The reason almost no one here agrees with you and your quixotic quest to convince people that self identification as independent means more than behavior is because the data doesn’t say what you think it does. Higher self identification as independent without a concomitant change in behavior indicates cynicism about the process and little else. Your own studies proved my point last time and you refused to accept it. This study shows 50% Democrats and Dem leaners, 34% Republicans and GOP leaners, with the remaining 16% swing voters. That is skewed left from the overall data we looked at before and it has a slight (~6%) uptick in swing voters. When this group votes it follows the pattern of their leans, as one would expect.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  50. Grewgills says:

    @john personna:

    Seriously, the pattern here is that studies roll towards there being less party identification, and yes loyalty

    The data supports half of that assertion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  51. Woody says:

    @john personna:

    Er, no, I didn’t downvote any of your posts.

    As for red flags, cognitive dissonance, and confirmation bias – I seem to have backed in to a triple crown on a comment I hadn’t read! Gosh.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  52. john personna says:

    @Grewgills:

    Can you accept this, from Pew:

    Not only do half of all Millennials choose not to identify with either political party, just 31% say there is a great deal of difference between the Republican and Democratic parties. More people in older generations, including 58% of Silents, say there are big differences between the parties.

    Who does that support?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  53. Ben says:

    @Tillman:

    I can only speak about myself, but I sit either the end of gen-x or in the space between gen-X and millennial, and I am certainly not a closet Dem or Rep. As an example, in 2012, I voted for a Dem for my US Rep and for Gary Johnson for president, and the next time either of my senators is up for reelection, I’m voting Republican unless one of them gets knocked out in the primary (they’re both Dems). Basically, I’ve got my half-dozen issues I care the most about, and whichever candidate is closest to my views on those issues gets my vote. I consider myself a liberal, but a lot of the Dems (like both of my senators, for instance) are most certainly not liberal on the issues I care about, and the libertarian is actually closer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  54. Grewgills says:

    @john personna:
    Neither of us in any meaningful way. It just shows that they are cynical about the process. On the issues they lean left and when pressed 84% of them lean one way or the other and when they vote it is pretty easily predictable where that vote will go. What is less predictable is what will motivate them to actually vote in even the anemic numbers of the older cohorts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  55. stonetools says:

    My take on this is that millenials are caught between parties that failed them in various ways. The Republican Party are the party of failed ideology and the Democrats the party of failed execution.
    The Millennials helped sweep out the party of failed ideology in 2008, buoyed by the promise that Obama and the Democrats would bring in a new way of doing things-reasonable bipartisan compromise, driven by Obama’s unique personality and approach. Unfortunately, the party of failed ideology retained enough power to block the Democrats from fully implementing their program, so the Democrats looked ineffective. In particular, the Republicans stopped the Democrats from fixing the biggest the biggest problem of all for millenials-the high unemployment caused by the 2008 financial crisis. The biggest thing going for the Republicans is the way they have retarded the recovery without playing a political price for that. The Obama Administration is in part responsible for that, starting with their too small stimulus and their ineffective messaging, but the ferocity and cynicism of the Republican opposition has been unprecedented, so I understand why the Obama Administration was unprepared for that. Still, millennials do have the impression that the Democrats are ineffective, which is why they aren’t flocking to that label.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  56. superdestroyer says:

    @stonetools:

    There is very little real world proof that short term stimulus helps to reduce long term unemployment. In an interconnected global economy, deficit spending by the U.S. government is more than likely to flow to Chinese manufacturers, international energy producers, and the public sector unions. The fact that the Democrats want to double the number of legal immigrants to the U.S. shows that the Democrats do not really care about long term unemployment or about raising real wages in the long term.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  57. stonetools says:

    @superdestroyer:

    There is very little real world proof that short term stimulus helps to reduce long term unemployment

    ER, the point of fiscal stimulus is precisely to reduce the surge in unemployment caused by the sharp fall in aggregate demand and economic activity that follows a financial crash. That has worked very well in all the recessions that have occurred since the Great Depression of the 1930s. That’s why its the standard remedy proposed by economists- it’s been proven to work. Most economists believe that the 2009 stimulus program helped avert even higher unemployment caused by the 2008 financial crash and believe that a further round of stimulus would help with current unemployment. I don’t know what you mean by long term unemployment but the world is no more “global” today than it was in August 2008. I might point out that there were Chinese manufacturers, international energy producers, and public sector unions in August 2008 too when unemployment was lower. Illegal immigration was higher and unemployment lower in August 2008 too.
    Anyway, thanks for trotting out economically illiterate conservative talking points so they can be refuted. A wider audience now knows that they are wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  58. Tillman says:

    @john personna:

    You reject, overrule, these self-reports. You insert your own experience.

    A) Yes, I do insert my own experience. I find that’s what everybody does when told a story: they compare it against their own experiences. That’s the basis of confirmation bias, and everyone does that. However:
    B) I also mentioned the voting data, something people have brought up and you’ve dismissed from the very beginning.

    You tell me that I am the one “interpreting.” I have actually done none of that, I have taken it at face value.

    Read that sentence to yourself again while chanting “confirmation bias.” We’ve all seen the data and have drawn different conclusions from it, john. Claiming your conclusion is the face value of it is…well, just try chanting for a while.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  59. Tillman says:

    @Ben: I’ve found it terribly difficult to vote my ideological preferences because of how the system’s set up, and I have to support Democrats more often because I absolutely abhor what Republicans have done on the national (and, as of 2012, state) stage. The Democratic senator from NC, Hagan, is to the right of me on issues I care about, but not enough of them for me to consider the Republican alternative. One of the downfalls of being a big tent party, like the Democrats are currently, is they have a rather wide ideological spectrum.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  60. Kari Q says:

    @superdestroyer:

    And how does the Republicans survive by becoming the Democrartic-lite party?

    It’s interesting that you think this is the only alternative open to them. But there are a world of policies out there that have no party advocating for them which could really resonate people, and the GOP will eventually pick up at least some of them, I would imagine. I have no idea what they will replace racial resentment and war-mongering with, but they will find something.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  61. john personna says:

    @Grewgills:

    This does go exactly back to the other Pew study. That study said that while they did not identify Dem, they had beliefs favorable to Dems. Some here (1) repeated their belief that there are no (or few) real independents, and (2) if they vote Dem, that makes them Dem. Some even suggested that such independents were in denial about there Dem-ness.

    A study which shows that most (69%!) of these independents see no difference between the parties should certainly put to rest that they are closet Dems.

    Democrats, as demonstrated daily in these pages, know that they are not Republicans.

    Commenters here sound like that other group, very focused on pary differences.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  62. john personna says:

    @Tillman:

    Your second answer, about “I have to support Democrats” was actually my starting position. Exactly.

    The other side of the argument was that “there are no real independents” and that your final vote said all that need be said about you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  63. john personna says:

    My starting position was that voters have a constellation of values and are forced by the two part system to reduce themselves to a binary vote.

    My starting position was that self identified independents are telling you something about themselves, that they are not partisans in the meaning of the word.

    And yes, this new study says exactly that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  64. Tyrell says:

    Reminder to set your clocks ahead or you will wake up one hour late. We all will spend the next several weeks trying to adjust to this nonsense. (another government intrusion into our personal lives !! They need to stop this confounded time flip flopping and switcherooing !!)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  65. superdestroyer says:

    @stonetools:

    The biggest impact on unemployment with the 2009 stimulus was to cause state and local governments maintain the workforce levels. That would have had very little effect on the employment prospects of the millenials since government jobs are dominated by baby boomers.

    Increasing demand in a short term manner does not cause manufacturers in the U.S. to hire more people, to cause retailers to hire more people, or transportation to hire more people.

    Once again, the U.S. just refused to takes it medicine and try to fix long term problems of the economy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  66. superdestroyer says:

    @Kari Q:

    Do you really think there is a single idea out there that has not been focus grouped and opinion polled ad nauseam. There are 1000′s of consultants and wonks who have explored every idea out there and they know what the public thinks about them. There is no idea that the Republicans can come up with that the Democratic Party consultants such as David Axelrod will not be able to turn against the Republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  67. Grewgills says:

    @john personna:

    Some here (1) repeated their belief that there are no (or few) real independents,

    There are about 10-15% that split tickets and are winnable by either side in any given election. If you aren’t winnable by one side, you are effectively a part of the other side whether you want to admit that to yourself or anyone else.

    and (2) if they vote Dem, that makes them Dem. Some even suggested that such independents were in denial about there Dem-ness.

    Some maybe, some like Tillman just don’t want to be bothered, others are not very engaged with politics, others want to appear above the fray, some are actually up for grabs. No one has suggested they are a monolith.

    A study which shows that most (69%!) of these independents see no difference between the parties should certainly put to rest that they are closet Dems.

    That is not what the study shows. Not seeing “a great deal of difference” ≠ no difference. Way back when the election was between Gore and Bush, I was buried in O Chem, Cell Bio, and Genetics and didn’t see much difference between the two parties because I wasn’t very engaged. I lived in Hawaii then as now and was able to safely cast a protest vote for a 3rd party. Just as I regretted delaying O Chem to the point that I had to take it with Cell and Genetics for which it was a prereq, I now regret that protest vote for Nader. I blame the foolishness of youth for both. At that point in my life I was technically not a Democrat or a Republican, but there was no real doubt which camp I was in.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  68. john personna says:

    @Grewgills:

    Your theme there was (again) to interpret people relative to elections, right?

    These polls (and I) continue to work it from the other end, who these people are, and then how that limits their choices in elections.

    That is not what the study shows. Not seeing “a great deal of difference” ≠ no difference.

    I’ll just repeat the original text:

    Not only do half of all Millennials choose not to identify with either political party, just 31% say there is a great deal of difference between the Republican and Democratic parties. More people in older generations, including 58% of Silents, say there are big differences between the parties.

    What I think we are seeing in all these “no true independents” threads is that people in the second group, who “say there are big differences” are laying their values on the former who see “no great difference.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  69. john personna says:

    The wording I liked least in those early threads was that repeat-voting for a party made a person a “partisan”.

    This poll illustrates why it might not. They might repeat vote, reduce their choices in the same pattern, without actually being a partisan supporter of that group.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  70. Grewgills says:

    @john personna:
    We live in a country with, for all intents and purposes, two choices. As much as we may not like that it means there are two sides to choose from. Most people choose a side and stick with it for an extended period of time. Some few (10-15%) don’t. If you repeatedly choose a side and reliably vote for that side in election after election then you are a supporter of that side, regardless of what you choose to call yourself. Again if your sticking point is the word partisan substitute supporter or reliable voter.
    I don’t think we disagree as much as these threads make it look like. We simply attach greater importance to different measures. My point is and has been actions speak louder than words, how you vote matters more than what you call yourself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  71. Grewgills says:

    @john personna:

    Not only do half of all Millennials choose not to identify with either political party, just 31% say there is a great deal of difference between the Republican and Democratic parties.

    Yet half of them are Democrats or Dem leaners, so they must see some difference or there would be no lean.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  72. john personna says:

    @Grewgills:

    You just committed the same logical error, or loop really.

    You said that since they vote in a repeat pattern, they are partisans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  73. DrDaveT says:

    @Woody:

    actual independents are mostly a myth. Look to see which candidates a demographic votes for

    What is it with you people and your need to believe that everyone secretly yearns to belong to one of your frats?

    If the grocery stores in my town only sell spam and scrapple, you cannot use my buying choices to deduce that I’m really a spam-lover or a scrapplophile, no matter how much I protest that I dislike one and loathe the other. Man’s gotta eat something.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  74. DrDaveT says:

    @Grewgills:

    As much as we may not like that it means there are two sides to choose from. Most people choose a side and stick with it for an extended period of time.

    And this is somehow independent of the fact that the platforms of these parties tend to change only slowly?

    The sensible interpretation of the data being presented here is that most people have a personal set of values that is not closely approximated by the platform of either major political party. They vote (when they vote) for the candidate whose views seem closest, or (more likely) least dangerous. They often DO NOT CARE what label is attached to that candidate — and they do not care that they seem to be voting for one label a lot more often than the other.

    Occasionally, they will start to care about the label when one party gets so far from their preferences that the prospect of them wielding strong majority power is terrifying. At that point, these normal people will start voting for the candidate most likely to beat the candidate from the Very Dangerous Party. This is not, in any way, the same thing as being a partisan of the Less Dangerous Party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  75. Grewgills says:

    @DrDaveT:

    And this is somehow independent of the fact that the platforms of these parties tend to change only slowly?

    There has been exactly one major realignment in the recent past. It began before I was born with civil rights legislation pushing Southern Democrats into the Republican party. That realignment was more or less completed under Reagan. Since then the blocks have been pretty stable. Until the next major realignment, the patterns we see now are likely to continue. Between major realignments the stability of party platforms results in predictable patterns of support for the two major parties. In short no, but that doesn’t much matter until the next major realignment.

    They vote (when they vote) for the candidate whose views seem closest, or (more likely) least dangerous. They often DO NOT CARE what label is attached to that candidate

    Thing party ID is shorthand for those views and that perceived degree of danger, thus they regularly end up voting for a party as much or more than a person.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  76. Grewgills says:

    @DrDaveT:

    If the grocery stores in my town only sell spam and scrapple, you cannot use my buying choices to deduce that I’m really a spam-lover or a scrapplophile, no matter how much I protest that I dislike one and loathe the other. Man’s gotta eat something.

    If you choose exclusively, or almost exclusively, one of those stores I can deduce that you prefer one to the other and are (monetarily) supporting one over the other. That may not make you a partisan, in any narrow sense, but it does make you a reliable supporter of one over the other. In that case you are not independent in the struggle of scrapple vs spam.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  77. Grewgills says:

    @john personna:
    Nope, I said since they self identify (your chosen metric) as Democrats and Dem leaners, they they must see some difference between the parties. If they saw no difference, then they wouldn’t lean. That is rather self evident.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  78. john personna says:

    @Grewgills:

    No. They “identify” only when asked “what is your party identification?”

    As DrDave notes, which of these two would you vote for is a different question.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  79. Grewgills says:

    @john personna:

    As DrDave notes, which of these two would you vote for is a different question.

    Come election day that is the question that matters most.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  80. Grewgills says:

    @john personna:

    No. They “identify” only when asked “what is your party identification?”

    Asking questions is rather central to polling isn’t it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  81. Barry says:

    @john personna:Business Insider is semi-reliable.
    At best.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  82. john personna says:

    @Grewgills:

    But importantly, that is not where past arguments about “lean” came from.

    @Barry:

    They are just reporting on a study by UBS.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  83. john personna says:

    @Grewgills:

    Come election day that is the question that matters most.

    I (and perhaps DrDave) see different questions. One is about the populace and their beliefs, and the other, one step removed, is about the outcome of elections.

    As I said in one of those long threads, a good strategy for a party is to identify beliefs which are favorable to them, and then to drive them as wedge issues in an election. This will cause many people who don’t agree with them on everything to vote with them, because they agree on those fewer things, which have become the focus.

    That process does not change the people, only the outcome.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  84. Barry says:

    @superdestroyer:

    “@stonetools:

    The biggest impact on unemployment with the 2009 stimulus was to cause state and local governments maintain the workforce levels. That would have had very little effect on the employment prospects of the millenials since government jobs are dominated by baby boomers. ”

    Wrong. For those interested in the truth, see Krugman (e.g., ’50 little Hoovers’).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  85. grewgills says:

    @john personna:

    As I said in one of those long threads, a good strategy for a party is to identify beliefs which are favorable to them, and then to drive them as wedge issues in an election.

    Which has been the dominant GOP strategy using abortion, gay marriage, and other social issues as a wedge to motivate the base and drive up discontent with the process among moderates. It has worked pretty well for them over the past 30 years or so. That does not, however, change the overall distribution of supporters. I am hoping that your interpretation is correct and over-reliance on exploiting social wedge issues will harm those using them long term but, given the average person’s attention span, I am skeptical of it causing them much damage.
    In short, if it makes you feel any better, I wish you were right, but I don’t think you are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  86. john personna says:

    @grewgills:

    Did I make a prediction to be right or wrong about? I thought it was just an observation that parties use wedge issues. Dems did it with Romney and offshore accounts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  87. grewgills says:

    @john personna:

    Did I make a prediction to be right or wrong about?

    You have consistently made an interpretation about what constitutes independents and how fluid their politics are. That has been our major bone of contention and that is what I wish you were right about. It would make me more hopeful for our political future.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  88. john personna says:

    @grewgills:

    I think that prepositions my argument a bit. I think I was saying something simpler, just that a self-identified independent is not identifying with a party, and that party’s full bundle, or platform.

    Such an independent may be fairly stable in his or her outsider status, and not necessarily fluid in affiliations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  89. george says:

    @Grewgills:

    Neither of us in any meaningful way. It just shows that they are cynical about the process. On the issues they lean left and when pressed 84% of them lean one way or the other and when they vote it is pretty easily predictable where that vote will go. What is less predictable is what will motivate them to actually vote in even the anemic numbers of the older cohorts.

    But isn’t that much of the point of them being independents – if there’s not much difference, there’s not much incentitive to vote. That’s certainly the way its turning out in Canada; the youth vote tends progressive, but the percentage of youth who find it worth the effort to vote is small and decreasing, because they don’t think it really matters which lousy party gets in, and they have better things to do (even if its just watching Netflix).

    Whereas people who identify with a party will go out and vote, if only to back the home team. Which is why so much effort is now being put into getting the base out to vote – the independents more often than not won’t bother unless someone says something outrageously stupid just before the election.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  90. Katharsis says:

    I’m an INDEPENDENT! Don’t patronize me with your LABELS. I don’t believe in labels, and I don’t see much difference between the parties. I may reliably vote for one of them over the other, but don’t you dare label me, because I am an INDEPENDENT!!

    /end snark

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0