Democrats' Edge Among Millennials Slips

  • February 18, 2010

The "Millennial Generation" of young voters played a big role in the resurgence of the Democratic Party in the 2006 and 2008 elections, but their attachment to the Democratic Party weakened markedly over the course of 2009. The Democratic advantage over the Republicans in party affiliation among young voters, including those who "lean" to a party, reached a whopping 62% to 30% margin in 2008. But by the end of 2009 this 32-point margin had shrunk to just 14 points: 54% Democrat, 40% Republican.

While the Republican Party picked up support from Millennials during 2009, this age group continues to favor the Democratic Party more than do other generations. And the underlying political values of this new generation continue to be significantly more liberal than those of other generations on many measures.

Aside from partisanship, this distinctiveness is most evident in the Millennials' social values, but can also be seen in greater support for government in general, and somewhat lower levels of support for an assertive national security policy compared with other generations. On other important dimensions, however, such as attitudes and values about business and about the social safety net, young people today are not particularly distinctive.

Read the full report Democrats' Edge Among Millennials Slips on the Pew Research Center's Web site.