Last year, in a Harvard poll of likely voters aged 18-29, 55 percent said that they would vote for an unnamed Democrat for president, while 40 percent said they would vote for an unnamed Republican.
Today, in that same poll, that 15-point advantage for Democrats has grown to a 28-point advantage. Much of that advantage comes from overwhelming support among young minority voters. But even among young white voters, a 12-point advantage for a generic Republican candidate back in April 2015 has become a 2-point advantage for a generic Democrat.
Apparently, the inspiring colloquy of ideas featured in Republican presidential debates, interspersed with highly educational Trump rallies, have had quite an effect on the GOP brand among today’s impressionable young voter.
When queried using the names of actual candidates, the news gets even worse for Republicans. Sixty-one percent of likely young voters say they would vote for Hillary Clinton; just 25 percent say they would vote for Donald Trump. I doubt that numbers like that have ever been seen before in the history of American political polling. As the Wall Street Journal recently noted:
“In 1980, 18- to 29-year-olds divided almost equally between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Four years later, they picked Mr. Reagan over Walter Mondale, and then George H.W. Bush over Michael Dukakis. When millennials first began voting, in 2000, 18- to 29-year-olds split almost evenly between Al Gore and George W. Bush.”
We’ve paid a lot of attention to the immediate problems confronting the GOP in the 2016 cycle, but as it’s currently constituted, its longer-term prospects don’t seem any brighter.