A survey from the Harvard University Institute of Politics contained good news for Democrats. The younger voters that were a key part of President Obama’s victories solidly want to keep a Democrat in the White House.
The survey found that Obama coalition is going to keep their support with Democrats in 2016:
Overall, young Americans prefer that a Democrat (55%) win the White House over a Republican (40%) in the 2016 race for president, a view held within the younger (18-24 year-olds – 53%: Democrat; 41%: Republican) and older (25-29 year-olds – 57%: Democrat; 39%: Republican) segments of the age-group. This view is stronger among young African-Americans (87%: Democrat; 8%: Republican) and young Hispanics (68%: Democrat; 27%: Republican). A majority of young whites, however, prefer Republican White House control after 2016 (53%: Republican; 41%: Democrat).
Among 18-to 29- year-olds, President Obama’s job performance has improved seven percentage points over the past six months (50%: Mar. 2015; 43%: Oct. 2014). The president’s job approval also increased across all major subgroups, including among young Hispanics – rising sixteen percentage points over the same time period (65%: Mar 2015; 49%: Oct. 2014). The president’s approval ratings on handling the economy (47%: Mar. 2015; 36%: Oct. 2014), health care (43%: Mar. 2015; 37%: Oct. 2014) and race relations (50%: Mar. 2015; 47%: Oct. 2014) all also increased since October. Tracking with the president, job approval of Democrats in Congress improved five percentage points (40%: Mar. 2015; 35%: Oct. 2014) since the fall, while approval of Republicans in Congress remained at 23% for the third straight IOP poll.
It is no surprise that Hillary Clinton is running away with the Democratic nomination. Younger voters support Hillary Clinton over Elizabeth Warren 47%-11%. Clinton leads Bernie Sanders 47%-1%. No Republican candidate was able to break 10% support with younger Republicans. Ben Carson (10%), Rand Paul (8%), Jeb Bush (7%), Mike Huckabee (7%), and Scott Walker (5%) were the top five Republicans.
Many Republicans had embraced the hopeful delusion that young voters would be up for grabs without President Obama on the ballot, but it looks like the Obama coalition is holding strong and ready to support Hillary Clinton in 2016. What Republicans refuse to admit is that it is their policies that are pushing younger voters away. Republicans are wrong on immigration, same-sex marriage, women’s issues, climate change, the war on drugs, income inequality.
These are issues that matter to voters regardless of age, but on social issues, Republicans are completely out of step with younger voters. The Republican fantasy that the Obama coalition would crumble in 2016 is getting a stiff dose of reality. The 2016 election cycle is beginning with Democrats being powered by many of the demographic groups that powered President Obama to victory in 2008 and 2012.