Millennials Aren't More Democratic—They're Just Less Republican


Reason-Rupe has a new survey and report out on millennials—find the report here

In 2012 millennials voted for President Barack Obama over Mitt Romney 60 to 36 percent, but the latest Reason-Rupe study of millennials finds they are not overwhelmingly Democratic. In fact, they are no more Democratic than older Americans; instead they are more independent and less Republican.

Remarkably, given recent voting trends, millennials are slightly less likely (43%) to identify as Democratic than Americans over 30 (49%). Only 23 percent of millennials identify as Republican, half as likely as Americans 30 and up (40%). Instead, millennials are three times as likely (34%) as older Americans (11%) to identify as independent.

In other words, millennials are distinctive because they are less Republican and more independent.  (They really don't like either political party)

White and Asian American millennials have similar partisan profiles, with about a third identifying as Republicans, a third as Democrats, and a third as independents. Nearly half of Hispanic millennials identify as Democratic, four in 10 as independent and 12 percent as Republican. Nearly 60 percent of African-American millennials identify as Democratic, a third as independent, and 11 percent as Republican.

Millennials' life experiences also correlate with their partisanship. The longer millennials are in school, the less politically independent and the more Democratic they become. Among millennials with high school diplomas, 43 percent identify as independent and 38 percent as Democratic. Among college graduates this flips, and 51 percent identify as Democratic and only 23 percent as independent. Among those who have pursued post-graduate degrees, 59 percent identify as Democratic and 15 percent as independent.

Interestingly, Republican identification does not vary substantially with education, but it does as millennials get married and buy a home.

Among unmarried millennials who don't own homes, 21 percent identify as Republican, compared to 34 percent of those who are married and do own homes. While Democratic identification doesn't substantially vary across homeownership and marital status, independent identification declines from 35 percent among unmarried non-homeowners to 22 percent among married homeowners.

It is not clear whether added responsibilities such as marriage and homeownership increase the likelihood that millennials will become Republican or whether Republican millennials are more likely to buy homes and get married younger.

To learn more about millennials, check out Reason-Rupe's new report.