Enthusiasm for the Democratic Party is waning among millennials, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. The online survey of more than 16,000 registered voters ages 18 to 34 shows that the edge Democrats have over Republicans with this group has slipped significantly in the past two years.
Two years ago, 55 percent of registered voters ages 18 to 34 supported Democrats for Congress, while only 27 percent supported Republicans. Now, Democratic support is down to 46 percent. Support for the GOP is steady at a lowly 28 percent.
That’s still a significant edge for the Dems. However, they count heavily on the millennial vote. A 10 point diminution of their edge would be blow because, as Reuters says, Democrats need all the loyalty they can get to achieve a net gain of 23 seats to capture control of the House.
What has caused the Democrats’ loss of support among millennials? Reuters points to the economy — almost always a good starting point. Millennials now split evenly on which Party has the better plan to deal with it. Two years ago, Democrats had a 12 point edge.
Like the rest of us, millennials can’t help but appreciate the extra money the tax cut has conferred. Even more than the rest of us, they are likely to appreciate the improved job market.
Yet, support for the GOP hasn’t increased. The diminution of the gap is all down to a decline in Democratic support. So the poll seems to reflect disillusionment with Democrats, not appreciation of Republicans.
Why the disillusionment? One clue may be the large role white males play in the decline of Democratic support among millennials. Two years ago, this cohort favored Dems by a 48-36 margin. Now it favors Republicans by 46-37.
Does the economy fully explain this massive swing? I doubt it. There’s little reason for white male perceptions in this realm to differ significantly from the perceptions of others.
Cultural issues must be in play. Stated differently, young white males seem increasingly attuned to the left’s perception of them.