The College Republican National Committee released a 95 page report of polling and focus groups recently showing the Republican Party lost young voters in the 2012 elections. A “dismal present situation,” the report states. The study is being used to show to senior party members that the GOP needs to reach out to the young people more effectively by abandoning particular domestic issues currently on the party’s platform.
The Winston Group, a Washington based GOP polling firm headed up by a former House Speaker John Boehner (R – OH) staffer, developed the surveys for the CRNC. Politico reports:
“[The] Republican Party has won the youth vote before and can absolutely win it again,” the report says, pointing to presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush who were competitive with that demographic. “But this will not occur without significant work to repair the damage done to the Republican brand among this age group over the last decade.”
The report is based largely on two national surveys of 800 registered voters each, ages 18-29, and six focus groups of young people, including Hispanics, Asian-Americans, single women, economically struggling men and aspiring entrepreneurs in Ohio, Florida and California who had voted for President Barack Obama — he cleaned up with 60 percent of the youth vote — but were considered “winnable” for the GOP.
What appears to be lost in this particular study, however, is President Barack Obama’s own youth support dwindled in 2012 as opposed to the great number of support he received from 18 to 29 year olds in 2008. Overall, Obama received 3.7 million less votes in 2012 than he received in 2008. According to a report released in early May by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University, 2.4 million young voters who supported Obama in his 2008 did not vote for him in 2012. Yahoo News reports:
CIRCLE used Census data released this week combined with exit poll data to produce estimates for young voter participation. It found that 14.8 million voters between the ages of 18 and 29 voted for Obama in 2008, but just 12.3 million of those voters cast ballots for the president in 2012.
That meant that turnout for 18-29-year-olds overall was 51 percent in 2008 and dropped to 45 percent in 2012.
A drop was also seen among African-American youth when that demographic was singled out. The turnout rate was 53.7 percent in 2012–higher than the overall average for all youth voters, but 4.5 percent lower than historic 2008 turnout for young African-Americans.
Overall, Obama still captured the youth vote in 2012. He earned 60 percent support from young people nationally while 37 percent supported Republican Mitt Romney. (In 2008, that divide was larger, with Obama receiving 66 percent support from young voters versus 32 percent for Republican Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).)
Young Republican National Federation Chairwoman Lisa Stickan told Breitbart News, ” These failures offer Republicans and conservatives a great opportunity to welcome people to the party. We need to do a much better job of reaching out to voters so they can learn about our ideas and values, and in turn this will lead to support for our candidates.”
Stickan believes Obama is “imploding”, pointing to the recent IRS scandal, bleak economy, and unpopular health care bill.
New York Young Republican Club President Brian Morganstern told Breitbart News he does not think the party is “in a dismal state” as the CRNC report remarked.
“I disagree with the notion that our party is in a ‘dismal’ state. While we were not successful in 2012, we have seen young, dynamic, diverse leaders such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Nikki Haley, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), Susanna Martinez, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), and others burst onto the national scene with compassionate, practical, conservative messaging,” said Morganstern.