After easily winning the youth vote in 2004, 2008, and 2012, Democrats are taking millennials for granted. And polls taken earlier this year show that Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Dem standard-bearer, will easily trounce either Gov. Chirs Christie or Sen. Rand Paul Paul in 2016.
But such triumphalism about Clinton and the Democratic stranglehold on younger voters is premature, to say the least. While there's no question that the GOP has managed to alienate millennials, there's every reason to believe that top Democrats are doing just about everything they can to squander their currently commanding advantage.
That's from a Daily Beast column I wrote a couple of days ago. Some of the signs include the fact that Obama actually lost to Romney among 18, 19, and 20 year olds in 2012 (click through to col for exact totals) and folks such as Rand Paul are tacking hard to the libertarian side of things of late (see, for instance, the difference between his response to Ferguson and Clinton's).
As the recent Reason-Rupe poll of millennials showed, millennials are less partisan than older voters and despite huge (and declining) support for Barack Obama at the polls, the kids are getting tired of both parties. They absolutely hate the GOP in its current incarnation, but they are also souring on Team Blue as well. Fully 34 percent of 18-29 year-old voters call themselves true independents, meaning they don't lean toward Republicans or Democrats. That compares to just 11 percent on non-leaning independents among voters 30 years old and up.
The great political achievement of the 21st century so far has been to alienate young voters from the two major parties in the U.S. And the great task for both Democrats and Republicans in 2016 will be to figure out how to woo them back.