Two recent studies — one released by the Pew Research Center and one by Third Way — show that the generation that helped elect President Obama in 2008 now identifies as independent more than ever. Millennials who may have voted with youthful exuberance in 2008 seem to have grown fatigued with the government's inability to get things done.
In 2009, 42 percent of millennials said government programs are usually inefficient and wasteful, according to Pew data. By 2012, that number had increased to 51 percent. And young people say they're losing trust in the government to Do the Right Thing. In 2009, 44 percent of millennials said they trust the government to do what's right all or most of the time. By 2013, that dropped to 29 percent.
Perhaps as a result of this political fatigue, more and more millennials are starting to identify as politically independent. Third Way — a think tank that advocates for centrist public policy — says millennials may lean Democratic, but more are opting to pick and choose their politics:
They may be voting for Democrats by wider margins than Republicans, but there's no indication that they have bought the prix fixe menu of policy options historically offered by the Democratic Party, nor that brand loyalty to the Party will cement them as Democrats forever.
The study also found that millennials are more open to switching brands than past generations. Third Way found that 85 percent of millennials would be willing to switch brands if it aligned with a cause they support.