In the News Now

Grand Old Party for a Brand New Generation

There was a lot of internet chatter about the above “GOP for a New Generation” report today.  Out of curiosity I decided to read it.  It was really interesting and while it doesn’t have much to do with our recent discussion of whether the Republican Party has moved right or not, I think it’s indicative of where they could use some improvement.

I happen to be the mother of young voters just outside of this under 30 age group, and because I’ve enjoyed watching their political views form so much, I thought this was a great study.

To be clear, in addition to the parts I’ve excerpted, they also polled economic matters, the size of government (interesting results there), the environment, and also discussed the use of social media and other sources of political news.

The following report assesses the findings from a variety of studies on young voters, including a new March 2013 survey conducted for the College Republican National Committee (CRNC), and makes recommendations about how Republicans can begin this work today.

We believe that Republicans can win young voters but that it will require a significantly different approach than has been used in recent elections.

Health Care

Health care remains a second-tier issue behind the economy and the national debt. In the August 2012 XG survey, only 8% of young voters said it was their top issue, and just 27% named “lowering health care costs and improving care” as one of their top two or three priorities in the March 2013 CRNC survey.

Nonetheless, the issue is at the top of the second tier in both surveys and came up frequently in our focus group research. In the August XG survey, young voters handed Democrats a heavy advantage on the issue, preferring their handling of health care to Republicans by a 63-37 margin. Some 41% thought things overall would be better as a result of Obama’s health care reform plan (versus to 32% who said things would be worse).

Many of the young people in our focus groups noted that they thought everyone in America should have access to health coverage. In the Spring 2012Harvard Institute of Politics survey of young voters, 44% said that “basic health insurance is a right for all people, and if someone has no means of paying for it, the government should provide it”; 23% disagreed.

Admittedly, there were concerns about the cost and quality of health care under the ACA but in general the young people gave Obama credit for trying.


While immigration wasn’t a major issue it appeared it might be an issue that could turn a voter against a conservative candidate who they agreed with on taxes or other economic issues but disagreed with on immigration reform.

The position taken most frequently by young voters was that “illegal immigrants should have a path to earn citizenship,” chosen by35% of respondents. Closely behind this were the 30% who preferred the “enforcement first” strategy of securing the border and enforcing existing immigration laws. Some 19% chose “illegal immigrants should be deported or put in jail for breaking the law,” while another 17% took the position that “illegal immigrants should have a path to legal status but not citizenship.”On the issue of laws that “would allow illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to gain legal resident status if they join the military or go to college,” three out of four (75.3%) young adults agreed in an October 2012 poll conducted by CIRCLE. And young voters for the most part knew how the candidates in the election stood on that issue; in that same survey, 63% of respondents said that Barack Obama was the candidate who supported “allowing many illegal or undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children to remain in the country,” while only 3% said that was Mitt Romney’s position.


This really surprised me; I knew it was pretty close but not quite this close.  In this case I wish Dems would alter their position a little to make room for a more tolerant culture of life position, but I repeat myself.

The results debunk the conventional wisdom on the issue and establish that not all “social issues” are viewed the same. Indeed, only 16% of young voters preferred that abortion be legal in all cases, while 32% said abortion should be legal “up to a certain point.” Combined, that comprises 48% who take a position leaning toward legality. On the other side, 37% felt abortion should be illegal with exceptions, and 14% thought abortion should always be illegal, making a combined 51% who lean toward prohibiting abortion. On this issue, there is small gender divide, with men in the survey actually tending to lean more pro-choice than women.

Where the Republican Party runs into trouble with young voters on the abortion issue is not necessarily in being pro-life. On the contrary, the Democratic Party’s position of pushing for abortion to be legal in all cases and at all times, including some recent laws around how to handle medical care for babies born alive during abortion procedures, is what is outside the norm of where young voters stand. Unfortunately for the GOP, the Republican Party has been painted – both by Democrats and by unhelpful voices in our own ranks – as holding the most extreme anti-abortion position (that it should be prohibited in all cases). Furthermore, the issue of protecting life has been conflated with issues around the definition of rape, funding for Planned Parenthood, and even contraception.

In the words of one pro-life respondent, “The Planned Parenthood thing for me is not so much about abortion; it’s about counseling before you can get to that point, and I feel that that’s a big part of what they do, is contraception counseling and about being safe.”


Gay Marriage

Perhaps no topic has gotten more attention with regards to the youth vote than the issue of gay marriage. And on this issue, the conventional wisdom is right: young people are unlikely to view homosexuality as morally wrong, and they lean toward legal recognition of same-sex relationships. Only 21% of young voters in the Spring 2012 Harvard Institute of Politics survey felt that religious values should play a more important role in government, and only 25% felt homosexual relationships were wrong. Young people nowadays are more likely than ever to know someone who is openly gay or lesbian, and that factor is correlated with attitudes supporting same-sex marriage.

Surveys have consistently shown that gay marriage is not as important an issue as jobs and the economy to young voters. Yet it was unmistakable in the focus groups that gay marriage was a reason many of these young voters disliked the GOP.

The conclusion of the report discusses five areas where they think the GOP can improve their chances to win over a larger percentage of the youth vote and they explain their methodology and whatnot.

I’m still working on an immigration post, just thought this was interesting and current considering all the references I read about it today on both sides of the political divide.

Morning Report – John Williams confirms QE could end this year 6/3/13

Vital Statistics:

  Last Change Percent
S&P Futures  1634.2 5.2 0.32%
Eurostoxx Index 2772.8 3.1 0.11%
Oil (WTI) 92.68 0.7 0.77%
LIBOR 0.273 -0.002 -0.73%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 83.15 -0.228 -0.27%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.16% 0.03%  
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 101.8 -0.1  
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 100.4 -0.3  
RPX Composite Real Estate Index 200.8 0.3  
BankRate 30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 4.1    


Markets are higher on no real news. We will get an important manufacturing report at 10:00 am est with the ISM Manufacturing Report. Bonds and MBS are down small.
Lots of data this week, with the ISM Manufacturing Survey later this morning, Unit labor costs and productivity on Wed and the jobs report on Friday. The jobs report will obviously be the biggest report of the week. The Street is expecting an increase of 177 jobs and a 7.5% unemployment rate. 177,000 jobs is on the low side of recent history. 
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams confirmed the conventional wisdom in the bond market – that the Fed may start reducing asset purchases with an eye towards ending QE by year end. “With continued good signs on jobs and confidence in a substantial improvement, I could see as early as this summer, some adjustment, maybe modest adjustment downward in our bond purchase program.” The program is doing this great job of helping the economy gain momentum and I would want to see that continue well into the second half of the year, but if things, again iff they go well, you could imagine ending the program by the end of the year.”
The sell-off in bonds has been painful for PIMCO: Bill Gross’s Total Return Fund lost 2.2% last month.
If the Fed ends QE, how high can we expect 10 year yields to go? Actually, a lot higher. The following chart shows the difference between the 10 year bond and the Fed Funds rate since it was set at 25 basis points in early 2009. Since we know the Fed is probably going to wait until unemployment gets closer to 6% before making any moves with the Fed Funds rate, we can assume that stays constant for the near term. But this chart shows we have gotten used to a flat yield curve over the past year. And that may be about to change.
Chart: 10 year bond yield minus the Fed Funds Rate

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