With the exception of bailed out bankers and recipients of Green Technology loan guarantees, every economic sector and demographic group were hit hard by the recession. The demographic group suffering the most is young voters between 18-29. Young African Americans and Hispanics are the hardest hit. They have directly felt the brunt of the Obama Administration’s failed economic policies.
As indicated by Republican gains among young voters in 2010, there was an opportunity to develop a new generation of voters who will embrace the GOP’s job creating policies. Understanding these potential new voters and how to reach them requires an in-depth look at the underlying demographics. Young voters are rapidly becoming a minority group.
“The surge in the minority vote we saw in 2008 was the surge in the youth vote,” Sean Trende writes in his book ‘The Lost Majority’.
Trende observed that Obama’s lead among all voters, including those 18 to 24, was less pronounced when non-white voters were taken out of the calculation.
“These groups swung toward Obama largely because these segments of the electorate became much more heavily minority in 2008, as the country continued to “brown “demographically and as Obama turned out minority voters in droves…It does suggest GOP does not have a minority problem and youth problem. It is the same problem.”
The younger a voter is, the more likely he or she is an ethnic or racial minority. Only 57% of Americans between 18 and 29 are white. Attracting young and minority voters should be a unified effort for national Republican campaigns and in states like California, Texas, Florida and Illinois.
The Democrats counted on an upsurge in minority as well as youth voters to help Obama win re-election, as well as keeping the Senate and maybe winning the House. In 2008, Obama garnered 66%, which is the first time that either Party gathered above 60% among young voters. When minorities are taken out of the mix of young voters, Obama’s margin was not much different than the general election results of 54% to 46%.
Among 18-29 year-old voters in 2008, Hispanics voted for Obama 76-19 and African-Americans voted 96-4. Hispanic youths voted more for Obama than other Hispanic groups. Hispanics over the age of 30 gave Obama 62%, less than Obama 67% overall vote total among Hispanics. Hispanic youths added 5% percentage points to Obama’s total percentage.
Youth voters provided the difference in Obama winning North Carolina and Indiana, two traditional Red States. Who were the youth voters in 2008? The youth voters were 18% African-Americans compared to 13% of the overall population. The were 14% Hispanics compared to 8% overall population. Whereas, only 62% of Whites make up those voters 18 to 29 compared to 74% of the overall voting population. Minority voters helped push the overall minority voting total to a record setting number. Over the last three election cycles, minority voters have made up a larger youth voting pool. In 2000, Whites made up 74% of youth voters and by the 2008 election cycle, Whites made up only 62%.
In 2012, Romney carried young white voters 51% to 44%. But, just as McCain in 2008, Romney lost minorities by wide margins. Hispanic youth voters went for Obama 74% to 23%. Many of those who voted in 2008, but now turned 30, continued their voting habits. Hispanic and Black youth voters increased their percentages from 2008. This added to the overall increase of minority voters from 2008.
The Path to 270
Ruy Teixeria and John Halpin in their study, “The Path to 270” predicted that minority voters would make even larger shares of voters in 2012 than in 2008. While these Democratic strategists concede Obama may not match the 80 percent of minority voters he received in 2008, they forecast Obama would receive 75% of minority voters. They anticipated those extra minority voters, even at a reduced percentage rate; will garner margins needed to win the election if other segments of the Democratic coalition come through. This was correct.
Obama and Democrats were more effective in reaching young voters by a two to one margin than McCain. This led to an increased voter turnout among young voters. In 2008, minority young voters contributed significantly to increased vote totals to Obama and the added turnout among minority voters in general. The Obama campaign found that a minority GOTV campaign led to increased young voters.
On a campaign-by-campaign basis, with a focus on winning this year, the return on investment of specific efforts to young and minority voters is low for most US House campaigns. For Senate campaigns, Presidential campaigns and the long-term competitiveness of the Republican Party, attracting young minority voters is a must. Young voters who have borne the brunt of Obama’s failed economic policies should have been primed to support Republican job creating policies.
In 2000 and 2004, youth voters were nearly split between Republicans and Democrats. But, in 2008 young voters affiliated with the Democratic Party by nearly 2 to 1. Republicans cut the deficit to 13% in the 2010 midterm election when they lost the youth vote by a 55% to 42% margin.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton captured 56% of the 18-29 year olds compared to 36% for Trump. So the GOP made inroads compared to 2008 and 2012. Just as in 2012, minority voters paved the way for Hillary to win the youth. Trump carried young white voters 47% to 43%. While White Voters made up 70% of total voters, they made up only 63% of youth voters. Hillary carried 85% of Black youth compared to 9% for Trump. Hispanics youth voters went for Hillary by a margin of 68% to 26%. If there is any hope, Trump did slightly better among black youth voters than older blacks.
The conservative movement can’t cede African-American and Hispanic voters. Young Minorities need exposure to conservative views. They must understand how these ideas will yield real, tangible results in jobs and personal financial success.
America’s Majority Foundation
Americas Majority Foundation’s Chief Economic Researcher Brad Furnish:
“Unfortunately, establishment Republicans have been traumatized by the demonization they have suffered at Democrat hands. They want to take the easy way out by hiding from confrontation instead of seeking it out. The time is ripe for this outreach. A black President has done absolutely nothing to improve the lives of blacks. A Republican Presidential candidate is openly advocating policies – such as vouchers – that blacks have long favored to remedy one of the most conspicuous failures of 20th-century liberalism.”
The outreach Furnish advocates is an advertising campaign on Urban and Top 40 radio and digital platforms that lays bare Democrat’s failure to create jobs and contrast failed Democratic policies with conservative ideas.
Republicans have a message of hope for young minorities looking to advance up the economic ladder. Minority unemployment is higher than whites. Many minority communities are seeing depression levels. Cities like Detroit have collapsed under Democrats.
The increase of minorities among young voters, in particular Hispanics, should convince Republican strategists of the need to increase their voting base beyond rural-suburban whites to include more minorities. African-American and Hispanics do exhibit many conservative ideas. A high percentage of minorities should be natural allies of the conservative movement. Republicans have followed a political strategy of benign neglect where they ignore many minority communities. But, now that strategy can no longer be followed. As minorities become a larger part of the population, Republicans and conservatives need to make inroads. And, 2016 may be the election to begin the process of winning the future and setting the stage for an expanded conservative majority.