“My impression is that there’s been a resurgence of young Republican self-identifiers,” says Dr. McDonald, who was not involved in the poll. “In the short-term, this points to a good election year for Republicans.”
That’s not surprising, he says.
As the GOP attempts to rebuild its image following President George W. Bush’s unpopular second term, young voters may be taking advantage of the opportunity to mount an ideological comeback to change the course of the Republican Party. (Monitor report: Young Republicans seek a new kind of party)
“This is actually part of a normal pattern we see in politics: the resurgence of the party out of power during midterm elections,” says McDonald. “When the governing party makes decisions that are unpopular, it tends to energize the opposition.”
The No. 1 issue energizing the opposition?
“Young people are extremely, extremely concerned about the current financial state,” says John Della Volpe, director of polling at IOP. “A lot of the intensity we see from conservative Republicans is around issues related to the economy. That’s something that has an effect on all members of this generation.” (Monitor report: The most fertile ground for Republicans is the growing ranks of independents.)
The poll found a majority of 18- to 29-year-olds experiencing significant anxiety about their personal finances, with 6 in 10 concerned about meeting current bills and 45 percent reporting their personal financial situation as "bad."