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.

Immigration

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.

Abortion

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.”

Bingo

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.

26 Responses

  1. What would the country achieve, in your opinion, with a improved GOP? In other words, what would healthcare look like with a GOP that is improved? Tax rates? Abortion? Immigration?

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  2. I don’t know McWing. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing a little more working across the aisle to get things done and I think the focus on jobs, education, and small business opportunity that the kids claim they’re interested in would be good for the country.

    Having said that, if the powers that be don’t listen to these voices and continue to lose national elections I’m not going to cry about it too much. I live in CA and so what I consider the worst of Republican legislation doesn’t affect me too much or my friends or family. I do feel sorry for others, such as Geanie in OK though.

    Primarily I just like to hear what young people think about our political parties, their faith or lack of faith in our government and politicians, as well as what they believe the future should look like.

    My mother never voted for a Democrat in her entire life but in 2008, about 3 months before she died I was helping her fill out her absentee ballot and she asked me to vote for Obama for her and anything else my kids thought was right. She believed the future was theirs and it should look like they wanted it to.

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  3. The Republican Party needs to decide whether it is going to be the party of social values such as being against abortion and gay marriage or the party of economic opportunity. The three decade union of the two factions are starting to undermine each other.

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  4. I was thinking about some of this stuff last night and remembering what it was like voting for the first time and the issues that were important to me. Of course I turned 18 in 1968 and went off to college and at that time I wasn’t allowed to vote. The first Presidential election I was able to vote in was 1972 and I was 22.

    One of the issues a lot of us had besides the Vietnam War itself was the fact that we were drafting 18 and 19 year olds who weren’t even allowed to vote yet. We had no say in the government or policies that were sending our young men off to war. It was huge to us.

    I know there are either new laws on the books or proposed legislation affecting college students’ voting and am wondering if this will affect the under 30’s crowd attitude toward the Republican Party. If I were 20 and a college student it would.

    I didn’t see a question about this in any of the surveys or polling referenced in this report, so maybe it’s not a big deal, but I am curious.

    I don’t have time this morning to look into all the legislation but this one jumped out at me from NC. It’s in the works. I’ve always believed that any law that cuts down or undermines our voting rights is a bad one but maybe that’s a residual attitude from my misspent youth.

    Senate Bill 667, known as “Equalize Voter Rights,” would remove the tax exemption for dependents who register to vote at any address other than their parents’ home.

    “If the voter is a dependent of the voter’s parent or legal guardian, is 18 years of age or older and the voter has registered at an address other than that of the parent or legal guardian, the parent or legal guardian will not be allowed to claim the voter as a dependent for state income tax purposes,” the bill says.

    The measure would affect only state income tax, so it wouldn’t have much effect on out-of-state students. But it could effectively cut student voting in counties like Watauga and Orange, where college voters have been a key part of the Democratic Party’s dominance.

    The bill would also require voters to have their vehicles registered at the same address as their voter registration. That also could cut down on college student registration, since many students maintain their vehicle registration in their home counties.

    http://www.wral.com/senate-bill-seeks-to-curb-college-vote/12298695/

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    • lms:

      I don’t have time this morning to look into all the legislation but this one jumped out at me from NC. It’s in the works. I’ve always believed that any law that cuts down or undermines our voting rights is a bad one but maybe that’s a residual attitude from my misspent youth.

      I remember discussing with you a similar law quite some time ago on PL. The law you highlight does not cut down or undermine anyone’s right to vote. It simply sets parameters determining where they can vote. The existence of such parameters are both sensible and necessary.

      I live in Connecticut but I work in New York. Should I be able to use my work address in order be able to register and vote in New York, while taking advantage of the tax benefits of living in CT? (Obviously my vote would be as wasted in NY as it is in CT, so there is no reason to do it, but ignore that for the purposes of the example.)

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  5. Do you temporarily live in NY every day or for months on end? I don’t really see an issue with letting kids, especially within the state, vote from their college campus.

    I know when our youngest went off to college in CO, she had to change her legal residential status, her car registration, show proof of living arrangements and all sorts of other things to establish residency prior to her first year of grad school to establish residency for her second year. She was no longer a dependent so that was fine. She also changed her voter registration.

    I just don’t think kids from So Cal should have to maintain residency status and come home to vote, or vote by absentee ballot, if they’re living and going to school in Santa Cruz or their parents will lose them as a dependent. Why bother to vote at all? It will be more important to do whatever families have to do to reap whatever benefits there are from having a dependent child in college.

    It may not seem onerous to you but it does to me and I’m just wondering what the kids and families facing this dilemma really think about it. I know there was quite a bit of confusion in some states in last years election so I’m wondering how it’s all playing out.

    Maybe it’s no big deal to anyone else (besides you)……………..I really don’t know. I’m curious.

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    • lms:

      Do you temporarily live in NY every day or for months on end?

      Yes. I spend approximately half of every day in New York. In fact the vast majority of my time spent in Connecticut is spent sleeping.

      I don’t really see an issue with letting kids, especially within the state, vote from their college campus.

      They would be allowed to. They just wouldn’t be allowed to be claimed as residents/dependents of their parents home at the same time. They would have to choose, just like I have to. I’m not allowed to claim residency in one place for voting purposes but residency in another for income tax purposes, and I don’t see why someone else should be just because they are a college student and I am not.

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  6. Scott

    Yes. I spend approximately half of every day in New York. In fact the vast majority of my time spent in Connecticut is spent sleeping.

    That sounds like a bummer to me but it’s still not the same as being a college student. What is it 90 miles between your home and the city? It’s not the same as living 400 miles from home for 9 months out of the year which was my CA example.

    In addition to that college is a temporary move. I just think we should make it easier for young people to vote, not harder on them or their parents. And I’m also saying I would hold that against a party for doing it. Like I said though, maybe it’s not really an issue. I don’t necessarily trust your judgement on that though…………… 😉

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    • lms:

      What is it 90 miles between your home and the city?

      More like 45, I think.

      In addition to that college is a temporary move.

      Which in my mind is a reason why established residents of a community might reasonably want to limit the influence of college students. I can imagine that if I lived in a community with a big college presence, I wouldn’t be happy if local elections were being heavily influenced by a bunch of outsiders that had no real commitment to the community itself.

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    • Lms, I agree that voters should vote within whatever they think is their local community. But in the end I have no philosophical problem with the proposed NC law b/c tax deductions are just that – tax deductions. You could argue that the proposed NC law is inherently progressive taxation – families that cannot afford to send their kids away get the break, but more affluent families who send their kids off do not. And legally, if the deduction is for “resident relatives” why stretch residency 100s of miles? I agree with Scott that these are severable issues.

      Enforcement of course would be cost ineffective.

      Most college students think their college area is their community. A large % of them are not going back to live and work in Hickory, NC, or Jim Ned, TX after their years in Durham or Austin. I won a lawsuit for UT students over this in the late 70s, but the SecState then was on our side, and it became a cakewalk as litigation goes, so I never thought of it as a singular blow for civil rights.

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  7. Scott

    More like 45, I think.

    We don’t even consider that a real commute here in CA. That’s how far I am away from any of the following, the beach, the mountains, the desert or Los Angeles…….pshaw

    I wouldn’t be happy if local elections were being heavily influenced by a bunch of outsiders that had no real commitment to the community itself.

    Our daughter lives in a college town and plans to stay there for now even though she’s working in Denver. Golden relies on the college and its students for its survival so it seems like they should be allowed a vote there to me. Most people live there precisely because they love the fact that it is a college town. Maybe it’s different in other college towns…………….who knows, not me.

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    • lms:

      Most people live there precisely because they love the fact that it is a college town.

      I think living in a college town would be very nice. But I also think being governed by the whims of a bunch of 18-22 year olds would be a complete and utter nightmare. 😉

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  8. Brent

    of free dumb as they like to put it

    Heh, that sounds like a PL coinage.

    I would actually like to see the GOP drop the social issues as well. Maybe they’ll listen to the kids. I used to agree with some of their economic policies but I’m not sure I do anymore. We’re too top heavy for them right now I think and the free market is too screwed up. Maybe enacting jnc’s flat tax would change things enough that we could get back to a real free market but I have little faith that his interpretation of a flat tax would be the one we’d get. I don’t trust Congress anymore to get much right.

    And who supports freedom since 9/11 anyway?

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  9. I don’t know scott, I know some 60 year olds I’m not too impressed with and a lot of them live in my town.

    I think if their spending (or more likely their absent parents’) supports my tax base, they should get a vote.

    I love Golden and I’m happy our daughter decided to stay their for now so I can continue to visit. Of course her boyfriend lives about 15 feet across the courtyard so that probably had something to do with it.

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  10. BTW Brent, I think a lot of us here are to the left of both parties on immigration. I’m not sure I even want to do an immigration post, that’s how much we all probably agree. I think that’s really interesting.

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  11. i think it’s weird that I voted in my “home” district of NoVa, while my roommate voted in the campus district. just doesn’t make sense to me. pick one. either one.

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  12. NoVa

    pick one. either one.

    You mean they can’t vote twice? haha Obviously they have to pick one. I’m just saying neither one should be onerous for them or their parents. I’m objecting to the weird new rules they’re trying to pass in some states regarding an issue that isn’t actually a problem in my opinion.

    But like I said, maybe it’s only an issue if you’re me, or possible a democrat.

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  13. no, i mean it should be uniform. welcome to college, here’s your voter registration card, as you’re a local now. or — hey, FYI .. be sure you’re registered at home.
    i’ve no strong preference either way.

    to me, it makes no sense that my roommate voted locally, while I voted absentee.

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  14. “or their parents”

    i don’t think they should factor in at all. you’re 18. be an adult.

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    • nova:

      i don’t think they should factor in at all. you’re 18. be an adult.

      Obviously it would be a total non-issue if not for the fact that the tax-code is used to express government preferences for certain kinds of behavior…like having children.

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  15. Mark and Nova, I think the tax deduction is the onerous part. They’re not giving anyone a choice of where to vote really. They’re saying if you want to vote where you live, at college, you must change your residency status and consequently your parents will suffer.

    Obviously, they’re free to make that rule but I think it’s obvious that some will object to that. Anyway, I doubt it’s a big issue, I just think it’s one that I would have an issue with as a student. But like I said, I wasn’t exactly a peaceful loving sort back then.

    Primarily I was curious why it wasn’t part of the research in my post. They seemed to be looking for ways to improve their outreach to younger voters.

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  16. ” They’re saying if you want to vote where you live, at college, you must change your residency status and consequently your parents will suffer.”

    i think that’s fair. but i think at 18 you should be off your parents taxes anyway.

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  17. but i think at 18 you should be off your parents taxes anyway

    Maybe, but that’s not the world we live in……………….yet. Believe it or not I’m pretty much in favor of jnc’s flat tax plan. Until we get there or somewhere else with taxes, I still think it’s unfair to force this choice. People only get to vote once so why not just let the status quo reign as far as voting goes? That’s what I don’t understand. It’s just more meddling.

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  18. “but that’s not the world we live in”

    ha ha. welcome to my world. 🙂

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  19. haha, it can’t be that bad, you just got back from a Disney cruise after all.

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  20. life is pretty good. but i’m 0-fer a lot on policy goals.

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