Monday, July 30, 2007
Kids These Days
Maybe you've heard about the recent polls showing a huge Democratic advantage among young voters. The latest , conducted by Stanley Greenberg for the Democracy Project, shows (among other dismal tidings) a 19-point party identification lead for Democrats among voters younger than 30.
Young people react with hostility to the Republicans on almost every measure and Republicans and younger voters disagree on almost every major issue of the day. The range of the issue disagreements range from the most prominent issues of the day (Iraq, immigration) to burning social issues (gay marriage, abortion) to fundamental ideological disagreements over the size and scope of government.
Read the report in full, however, and you come across an interesting nugget on page 6: White young people continue to favor Republicans by a thin but real margin of 2 points. The Democrats owe their advantage among youth to a huge lead among young African-Americans (78 points) - and a very large lead (43 points) among Hispanics.
In the past, Republicans could win elections despite their unpopularity among ethnic minorities. But with the huge surge of immigration since 1980 - and especially since 2000 - the voting map of the United States has been redrawn in ways inherently deeply unfavorable to the GOP. If Republicans face an inhospitable future after 2008, we will hear much of the dreadful legacy of George W. Bush on social issues, the war, the environment, etc. But Greenberg's own work makes clear that these issues matter relatively little.
(Only 28% of young voters would respond positively to an anti-religious-right message, for example: see page 11.)
No, the legacy that will damage his party is the legacy of immigration non-enforcement. This has imported a large new community of people who are both economically struggling (and thus open to Democratic arguments) but who lack deep attachment to the American nation (and who are thus immune to the most potent of Republican appeals). It is these voters who will sway elections in future. And thanks to this president's immigration policies, there are going to be a lot more of them than there might otherwise have been.
07/30 07:20 AM