Young Voters Are Quietly Shifting Away from The Democratic Party

“While a large percentage of Zoomers may balk at the Republican label, many have views that place them at odds with the modern Democratic Party as well.”

Cracks continue to emerge in the left’s argument that young voters are Democratic loyalists, and the 2022 midterms cast more doubt on that thesis. Despite MSNBC news hosts celebrating young voters for “saving Democrats” and President Biden thanking “young people” for voting in “historic numbers”, the midterms were not the windfall Democrats hoped for with young voters.

Even Vox is aware the left’s supposed edge with young people is in jeopardy after the 2022 election, and recently ran a piece warning Democrats young people are not a left-wing monolith.

Exit polls show young voters made up a smaller share of the electorate last fall than in the 2018 midterms, and Gen Z voters supported Democrats by seven-percentage points less than in 2018.

In the 2018 midterms eighteen to twenty-nine-year-olds made up 14% of the voter population, and that number dropped to 12% in 2022.  The “historic” turnout of young voters was slightly weaker this election than the 2018 midterms.

Support for Democrats slipped with young voters between elections, but the decline was strongest with Gen Z young voters between eighteen and twenty-four.

Exit polls show Democrats won 63% of under thirties in 2022 while the GOP won 35%. However, four years ago Democrats won under thirties 67% to 32%, indicating a 4-point shift away from the Democrat Party for under thirties.

When breaking out the under thirty voting block into Gen Z (eighteen to twenty-four) and young Millennials (twenty-five to twenty-nine) the shift is more evident.  Democrats lost seven-points with Zoomers between 2018 and 2022.

Exit polls show Democrats won 61% of Gen Z voters in 2022, down from 68% in 2018. The GOP gained five points, going from 31% in 2018 to 36% Tuesday. The remaining Democrat losses may have gone third party.

This should not come as a surprise. Back in 2018, Market Research Foundation recognized the generational pendulum shift advancing a more conservative and populist Gen Z when compared to Millennials. This is not to imply Gen Z as a whole is conservative, but younger voters are more likely to identify as moderates now. While a large percentage of Zoomers may balk at the Republican label, many have views that place them at odds with the modern Democratic Party as well.

Market Research Foundation has found Gen Z opposes globalism, opposes foreign military intervention, and wants to put America First, and the current Democratic Party is on the opposing side on each of these issues.

We’ve also found young people are skeptical of the college industrial complex, and those who forgo a four-year degree for alternative routes are more likely to lean right.

Our survey of 1,501 high school and college students found that young Americans have adopted a self-interested and rational form of ‘libertarian populism’. Their views are characterized by a rejection of globalism and foreign intervention, and a strong preference for the rule of law.

Our research found surprisingly high support among Gen Z for an America First philosophy, with 85% of young Republicans, 74% of young Independents, and 65% of young Democrats saying the goal of any law or policy should be to benefit Americans first, even at the expense of other countries.

We also found broad support for an America First agenda among all races. Seventy-seven percent of Gen Z Whites, 71% of Gen Z Blacks, and 63% of Gen Z Hispanics agree with an America First agenda.

We also found Zoomers across the political spectrum firmly reject foreign meddling and foreign aid in favor of America First policy.

Our research shows 68% of young Republicans, an equal share of young Democrats (68%) and 71% of young Independents think the U.S. should stay out of international conflicts as much as possible.

On the issue of foreign aid, 82% of young Republicans, 73% of young Independents, and 66% of young Democrats would like to see a reduction in foreign aid in favor of spending on U.S. based programs.

Across the board, Gen Z rejects open borders and lawlessness when it comes to immigration policy. Eighty-one percent of Gen Z say immigrants must follow the rules to become citizens even if they are difficult and 58% of Gen Z say it doesn’t matter if illegal immigrants cause problems; if they came here illegally, they need to leave or go through the proper procedures to stay.

This stance is supported by 86% of Generation Z Republicans, 61% of Generation Z Independents, and 42% of Generation Z Democrats.

Broadly, both the Democrat and Republican parties are shifting and realigning, with modern Republicans rejecting the hawkish globalist policies of the early 2000’s in favor of inward-focused populism. Democrats are becoming increasingly more hawkish and globally fixated, as evidenced recently by the left’s fixation with involving the United States in the Ukraine war. The left’s destructive cultural agenda is also pushing younger voters away, with polls last year showing over 40% of Zoomer men hold traditional views on gender, the highest proportion among men of any living generation.

Gen Z voters are emerging onto a new political landscape, and the modern Democratic Party is not necessarily the default choice like it was for Millennials.