Among them is pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson. In an article published by National Review this month, she argued that part of the problem stems from Republicans having given up on fighting for younger voters.
Pollster says GOP has abandoned youth outreach
Anderson started the piece off by recalling a dinner comment she made following last month’s disappointing outcome.
“If you ever hear someone claiming to quote Winston Churchill saying ‘If you’re young and conservative you have no heart; if you’re old and liberal, you have no brain,’ please let them know that everything they’ve just said is incorrect,” the author declared.
After stressing that there is no historical evidence to suggest Churchill ever uttered those words, Anderson went on to decry them as being grossly counterproductive.
“I can think of no misconception more damaging to the future of conservatism than the idea that young people are a lost cause and we must just passively wait for them to awaken to our way of seeing the world,” she wrote.
Voters not turning Republican with age
Anderson pointed to how “it isn’t just the youngest voters who are eschewing the Republican Party,” remarking that voting patterns among “those in their thirties makes me even more worried for the Right.”
For while Republicans “did even better with 50- to 64-year-olds nationally than they had eight years before,” generational change is eroding their aging base.
However, Anderson stressed that “it does not need to be this way” as “Republicans won younger voters in the 1994 midterms that ushered Newt Gingrich to the speakership.”
“When conservatives shrug and give up on young voters because it has ‘always’ been this way, they betray a staggering misunderstanding of how young people voted in the latter part of the 20th century,” she complained.
Bright spot in Florida
Anderson pointed to the success of Florida Republican Ron DeSantis, who lost young voters “by much slimmer margins” than most members of his party while managing to win “voters in his own 30–44 age bracket.”
She suggested that part of this may be due to his having “embraced the fact that Republicans are increasingly skeptical of corporate power, a view that Millennials and Generation Z have espoused as well.”
As Anderson drew to a close, she cautioned that the GOP faces dark days ahead if it cannot do a better job of pitching its members to the young.
“Running up the numbers with seniors is not enough, and the 2022 midterms are a startling example of what happens when Republicans assume that disappointed young voters will stay home until they’re older and magically turn conservative,” the pollster concluded.