Party Identification by Age
gains are seen among both younger and older voters. Among the population as a
whole, roughly half of voters under age 30 (52%) express support for the
Democrats. This is a significant decline from 2008 when fully 60% of this group
identified with or leaned toward the Democratic Party. The Democrats’ 28-point
advantage among the under-30 cohort has fallen to a 14-point advantage. Among
voters age 30 and older, the Democrats 10-point advantage in 2008 has shrunk to
two points as of 2011.
pattern is echoed within several religious groups. In fact, among several
religious groups, the move toward the GOP has been at least as large – if not more
pronounced – among those under 30 as among those age 30 and older.
2008, 67% of young white evangelicals aligned themselves with the GOP, giving
the Republican Party a 41-point advantage among this group. In Pew Research
Center polling conducted in 2011, 82% of white evangelicals under age 30
expressed support for the Republican Party, giving the GOP a 69-point advantage
over the Democratic Party. Whereas in 2008 the partisanship of evangelicals
under 30 closely resembled the partisanship of their older counterparts, young
white evangelicals are now significantly more Republican in their partisanship
than older white evangelicals.
2008, roughly half of white Catholics under 30 called themselves Democrats or
leaned toward the Democratic Party (53%), while 41% favored the GOP. By 2011,
these figures were reversed, with 54% of young white Catholics favoring the GOP
and 40% preferring the Democratic Party. A similar decline in support for the
Democratic Party is seen among white mainline Protestants under 30. Religiously
unaffiliated voters under 30 continue to express majority support for the
Democratic Party, but the Democratic advantage among this group has shrunk from
51 points in 2008 to 38 points in 2011.