Reason Roundup

New Poll Shows Millennials Are Defecting From the Democratic Party: Reason Roundup

Plus: AT&T on trial, protests over Russian app censorship, migrant caravan comes in peace


John Rudoff/Polaris/Newscom

Huge poll of young U.S. voters shows support for Democrats slipping. The mood of the young electorate in America is growing ever more wary of all establishment parties and candidates. The latest evidence of this is a huge new national Reuters/Ipsos poll of young voters. The survey (like many others) shows that young Americans as a whole aren't too keen on the Republican Party or Donald Trump. But they're showing less and less love for the Democratic Party too, with the percentage expressing a preference for Democrats in Congress now falling below a majority.

Picking up the slack is a growing number of young people who are unsure how they feel about the major parties, plan to support third-party candidates, or intend to abstain from voting altogether.

  • Slightly more than a quarter (26 percent) of those surveyed this year did not lean toward either Democratic or Republican candidates—up from 18 percent in 2016.

Reuters/Ipsos surveyed 16,000 18-to-34-year-old registered voters in an online poll that ran from January to March. Pollsters offered the same survey to thousands of young U.S. voters during the first three months of 2016.

  • Since 2016, young voters' stated preference for Democratic candidates fell 9 percentage points, to 46 percent overall.
  • Two years ago, 55 percent of those surveyed said they would vote Democrat and only 27 percent said they would vote Republican.

This year, the percentage of self-professed GOP voters held relatively steady, at 28 percent (in a poll with a margin of error of 1 percentage point). The defectors from the Democrats are now undecideds, independents, and electoral dropouts—a shift most pronounced among white millennials.

"Two years ago, young white people favored Democrats over Republicans for Congress by a margin of 47 to 33 percent," reports Reuters, but "that gap vanished by this year, with 39 percent supporting each party."

The outlier here is white male millennials, who do actually show a strong tilt rightward.

  • In 2016, young white men favored Democrats 48 percent to 36 percent
  • This year, they preferred Republican candidates to Democrats by 46 to 37 percent

All of this "presents a potential problem for Democrats who have come to count on millennials as a core constituency—and will need all the loyalty they can get to achieve a net gain of 23 seats to capture control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November," Reuters notes.

Last November, an NBC News/GenForward poll found 71 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds surveyed said America needs more than two major political parties.


Censorship blowback in Russia. Thousands of Russians are reported to be protesting today over their government's decision to block the encrypted messaging service Telegram, a dragnet that not only swept up that app but all sorts of other online services and content.


AT&T/Time Warner merger in court. The fate of AT&T's intended purchase of Time Warner could hang on today's closing arguments in a trial that pits the telecommunications bohemoth—owner of DirecTV—against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The agency is challenging AT&T's right to buy Time Warner under U.S. antitrust law, saying the purchase would throttle competition and raise prices for pay-TV customers. "The federal judge hearing the case is expected to take at least a month to reach a decision," reports The New York Times.

How are AT&T's chances? The DOJ case "has shown signs of strain after a grueling trial," reports Brent Kendall at MarketWatch, "highlighting the difficulty of challenging a merger involving companies that aren't direct competitors." After five weeks of trial, little new has been revealed by the companies and the government's witnesses haven't seemed to impress the judge. Monday's closing arguments "give the Justice Department a final chance to frame its arguments and AT&T…an opportunity to cement its gains," Kendall writes, pointing out that the stakes here are significant:

Should the Justice Department lose, it could embolden companies, including in the media industry, to pursue more transformative deals. A government loss also could prompt it to shy away from future lawsuits against vertical mergers, which combine companies that operate at different rungs of the same industry ladder. Meanwhile, a win for the Justice Department would give antitrust enforcers additional momentum and new court precedent for pushing back against mergers at a time of continuing industry concentration. It could also become a defining legacy for antitrust chief Makan Delrahim, who made the decision to sue AT&T within weeks of taking office.


  • After a lot of melodramatic attention to a few hundred Central Americans trekking through Mexico with intent to seek asylum in the U.S., the migrant "caravan" arrived and was met by border security without incident. "After a final briefing from lawyers and minutes before they were to begin a short walk to the border crossing, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan announced that the San Ysidro border crossing, the nation's busiest, had 'reached capacity' for people without legal documents and that asylum-seekers may need to wait in Mexico temporarily," CBS reports. "Asylum seekers didn't appear to be thrown off the by the delay."
  • Now out of jail, musician Meek Mill says he wants to take the activism that sprung up around his release and turn it toward broader criminal justice reform. "I've got a lot of important people depending on me, and not talking about the people, the public officials, I'm talking about the men that's depending on me that are going through the same thing I'm going through," Mill tells NBC News. "Let's now retire #FreeMeekMill and make it #JusticeReform."
  • A 16-year-old girl is suing the Los Angeles Police Department for alleged sexual harassment, negligence, infliction of emotional distress, and civil rights violations. The suit says former LAPD Officer Robert Cain, who retired in 2017 after 10 years with the department, sexually abused her while she was in the department's cadet program and provided her with abortion-inducing drugs when she got pregnant. Cain is already in jail on other charges. "Cain's arrest resulted after police uncovered a scandal in which cadets were joyriding in police cars, using stun guns and other equipment and impersonating officers," the AP reported last fall. "The scandal came to light after cadets crashed two police cruisers during pursuits."
  • "Silicon Valley's recent acquiescence to political censorship contrasts with the early days of social media, when the platforms were expected to herald global freedom," writes antitrust lawyer Mark Epstein in a new Wall Street Journal editorial.
  • "How the digital economy shapes American cities": a new report from the National League of Cities and the Internet Association explores tech sectors outside traditional tech enclaves, including Columbus, Ohio; Kansas City, Missouri; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.