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Tired of Partisan Politics, Young Voters Increasingly Identify as Independents

Erik Sofranko

Posted on March 25, 2021 04:07

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Politicians in both major parties are looking to win over the support of the 18 to 33 year old demographic.

According to a study from the Pew Research Center, 40 percent of the overall electorate now identifies as Independent. Democrats account for 32 percent of all voters, while Republicans account for 23 percent. The remaining five percent of voters identify with many third parties, including Libertarian and Green.

With voters in the 18 to 33 age demographic, support for the two major parties is even lower. Nearly 50 percent of young voters now identify as Independents, 28 percent identify as Democrats, and 18 percent identify as Republicans. Independent voters clearly have the influence to decide elections as young voters are shunning political parties at a faster rate than previous generations due to political dysfunction in Washington D.C.

With the two major parties failing to fully represent the younger generations of voters, they are in a position where they can no longer rely on their own party’s base of voters to win elections.

According to a recent Knight Foundation study that surveyed 4,000 full-time college students in the United States, young voters are clearly up for grabs for both Democrats and Republicans. These young voters revealed that their top priority when making voting decisions is the ability to reject the hyper-partisanship that has risen in recent years.   

Just over 70 percent of the students surveyed said they are “absolutely committed” to participating in the political process. This figure is much higher than the significantly lower voter turnout rates among young voters in past elections. In 2016, the young voter demographic had a voter turnout of 41 percent. That number increased to 53 percent in 2020.

However, in midterm elections, voter turnout is always low, but among young voters, it’s much lower. In the 2014 midterms, they had a 16 percent turnout rate, and in 2018, it was more than doubled to 33 percent.

In addition to viewing both major political parties unfavorably, young voters do not consume news through traditional media outlets. Only six percent of young voters watch establishment media networks like Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. They generally consume news through independent media outlets that range from conservative to progressive in political slant and are not controlled by corporate overlords. Some prominent media outlets in this category that are popular among young voters include The Blaze, The Daily Wire, and The Young Turks. 
 
It is evident that the political establishments of both the Left and the Right are not viewed favorably by the younger generation of voters. However, data shows that young voters are not monolithic on key issues, which suggests most of their votes could swing in any direction. Some of these key issues tax policies, economic growth, immigration policies, and school choice.

Erik Sofranko

Posted on March 25, 2021 04:07

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Source: stltoday.com

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