The GOP Generational Time Bomb

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It's no secret that Republicans have a brand problem; the gap between Dem and GOP party identification is greater today than at any point since the vanguard of the Reagan revolution, when Republicans held a double-digit advantage. Researchers at Pew have put a decade's worth of data through their analytical minds and come to the conclusion that the leading edge of the Democratic edge is among young voters. This isn't surprising, but it is noteworthy. Consider: Voters under 30 in the Midwest are twice as likely to call themselves Democrats as they are to identify as Republicans. 63% of women under age 30 identify as Democrats versus just 28% who call themselves Republicans. Democrats even have the affiliation of a majority of young men. A potential objection: that old canard, that young people are liberal and become more conservative? The historical data doesn't support it. When Bill Clinton was elected, a plurality of people under 30 identified themselves as Republicans. Same thing when Ronald Reagan was elected. Politically, today's cohort of 18-to-29 year olds came of age during the Bush presidency. It has turned them into Democrats.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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