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Glimpse into the future of politics

April 16, 2015

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As Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Marco Rubio become the latest to announce their candidacies for president of the United States, millennials will be a key group targeted in the 2016 campaign.

A new report from the Pew Research Center, “A Deep Dive Into Party Affiliation,” finds that millennials are skewing a little differently than the general public, when it comes to politics.

Across all generations, 2014 data showed that 39 percent of voters identified as independents, 32 percent as Democrats and 23 percent as Republicans.

But among young voters, 51 percent identify as Democrats or lean Democratic, compared with 35 percent who identify with the GOP or lean Republican. That leaves 14 percent in the independent category.

Here are some other findings.

• Among Millennials who identify themselves as Democrats or leaning Democratic, 44 percent are non-white, by far the highest percentage of any age cohort.

• Among white millennials, about as many identify as Republican or lean Republican (45 percent) as affiliate with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic (43 percent).

Earlier this year, Rian Bosse of the Reynolds Center and Rick Haglund, the veteran political reporter, talked about millennials and politics, especially in Michigan, which is trying to keep young residents from leaving. You can read their conversation here.

Meanwhile, millennials’ favorite television commentator, Jon Stewart, had a few choice words for the way the media covered Clinton’s visit to an Ohio Chipotle this week, on the same day that Rubio announced his candidacy.

For story ideas, reach out to local, regional and national millennial-based political organizations. Also, look at Census and political party data on voting trends in the past 50 years.


“A Deep Dive Into Party Affiliation”

U.S. Census Bureau

Democratic National Committee

Republican National Committee


  • Benét J. Wilson

    Benét, known as the Aviation Queen, is a senior editor at TPG who is best known for being an aviation journalist for 25-plus years. Her love affair with travel and aviation began at age 6, when her Air Force family moved from California to a military...

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