Ever since 2008 or earlier we have hard over and over again that Republicans need to reach out to the young. Conservatives need to appeal to young voters. And the only way to do that, of course, is to change our principles.
While the polls seemed to back up the idea that the Democrats owned the youth vote, it turns out that the young can change their minds when faced with evidence. According to the Washington Post,
One of President Obama’s chief political assets has been his ability to excite young people like almost no politician in history. But the days of America’s youth fawning over the president are over.
A new Harvard University Institute of Politics poll released Wednesday confirms what other surveys have shown in recent months: Millennials have soured on Obama so much this year that their opinion of him largely mirrors the American public’s.
Only 41 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds say they approve of the job Obama is doing, according to the Harvard IOP poll, down 11 percentage points from April. Fifty-four percent say they disapprove. It’s Obama’s worst showing in the survey since becoming president. What’s more, a majority of 18-to-24-year-olds say they would recall (!) the president if given a chance.
Other surveys have also shown steep declines in support for the president among young Americans. Obama’s approval rating among 18-to-29-year-olds has dropped 23 points from the beginning of the year in Washington Post-ABC News polling, from 66 to 43 percent. Gallup’s polling has shown a nearly identical decline.
What it means is that young people now view the president in largely the same light as the larger pool of all adults. Just take a look at this chart from Harvard IOP which maps Obama’s approval rating among the young in their poll against his numbers among all adults according to Gallup.
So far all of this could be explained as purely personal disappointment. Maybe that is all there is to it. But the poll results on questions about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act make me think that something much deeper is going on here.
Overall, the young simply don’t like what they see when it comes to Obamacare. Young people disapprove of the law, believe it will make them pay more for health care and on balance see it making their quality of care worse rather than better.
So they are not only opposed to the President, but they no longer believe in the Affordable Care Act at all! This could not only mean a break with Obama but a rupture with liberalism and the Democrat Party in general.
The Washington Post claims that Obama has lost popularity before and come back. In 2010 and 2011 his ratings declined, but “Obama still carried a whopping 60 percent of the youth vote in 2012, not that far of his 66 percent clip in 2008.”
Yes but who was Obama running against? McCain? Romney? Even people who knew how bad Obama was had a hard time forcing themselves to vote for those candidates.
Furthermore, because Obamacare needs young healthy victims enrollees to pay for the medical care for the less healthy and the older enrollees, the opposition of millennials to the Affordable Care Act could make it fail sooner and harder.
None of this is guaranteed. But it shows that we need to keep communicating our position and pointing out the problems with the President’s agenda. We never know when the tide might turn.