". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Are Young People Shifting to the Republican Party?

July 10, 2024

Vigorous discussion erupted between voters on both sides of the aisle as they speculate whether there’s been a notable shift in political party affiliation — specifically among young people. According to the National Public Opinion Reference Survey (NPORS), and as emphasized by Newsweek, “Young people appear to be flocking to the Republican Party.” It seems these sources provide an outline for how the statistics have changed in recent years to reveal people under the age of 30 are now significantly more inclined to the GOP. It does not, however, give a reason for why this may be the case.

Nate Cohn, the chief political analyst for The New York Times, summarized in a post on X, “By subgroup, the headline is age: NPORS found the GOP ahead on leaned party ID among 18 to 29 year olds, even though the sample was Biden+20 on 2020 recall vote. The sample size is fairly large (n=496) and it hasn’t shown anything like this in previous cycles.” In response to the post, in which Cohn further charted his analysis of the statistics, several users responded with disbelief.

One user wrote, “For those not versed in US politics, this is DEVASTATING for the Democratic Party.” Another asked, “Is Gen Z just evil?” And yet, amid these laments are optimistic voices, wondering if this is a sign that younger generations are increasingly siding with more conservative values. But if this is the case, then the next question is: Why?

To probe these questions, The Washington Stand went to Christian Pressler, a Family Research Council intern working in the Center for Family Studies. Pressler, who happens to be among the younger generation, shared with TWS, “I think there is a definite move toward conservatism which is primarily found in the Republican party, especially among young men.” And he went on to say there may be “several reasons” for why this is the case.

“First,” he stated, it’s possible “young people have a bleak outlook on the future.” According to Pressler, this pessimistic view can likely be attributed to the fact that “getting married, owning a house, or being able to have a family have all been pushed backward” due to “the economic state of the country” under the Biden administration. But more than that, he added, “[Y]oung people have a sense of the decline in the values that we associate with the time our country was prosperous.” In other words, young people may be experiencing a sort of “cultural nostalgia,” as Pressler put it, and “a hunger for older conceptions of virtue to fill the vacuum left by modern secularism.”

Particularly for men, Pressler pointed back to the fact that masculinity is under attack — and has been for some time now. “Especially for men,” he expressed, it’s crucial to have “a productive conception of masculinity and strength.” Ultimately, “[Y]oung people want to feel good about our future prospects,” which is becoming increasingly difficult due to the immense “progressivism throughout the 20th and early 21st” centuries.

From a similar perspective, Joseph Backholm, FRC’s senior fellow for Biblical Worldview and Strategic Engagement, explained to TWS that while “it’s difficult to know” exactly why this shift is occurring, “it’s possible young people are so tired of having the elites lie to them that they instinctively resist whatever the elites tell them.”

Backholm emphasized that this group of young people “were completely gaslighted during COVID, and now they’re being told men can have babies.” Additionally, it could be that many “instinctively understand the injustice of a world governed by DEI,” which has left many young people “struggling in their mom’s basement while people who did worse than them in school get great opportunities because of their skin color.” As Backholm argued, “It’s all conjecture, of course, but the world progressives want to create is inherently unjust and demands that we say false things.”

Considering the uncertain reasonings behind the statistics, Backholm assumed the shift we’re seeing could be one toward the Republican Party, or it could be more of “a shift away from an [ideology] that is inherently irrational, inherently unjust, and very destructive.”

But regardless of what is causing this alleged shift, Pressler urged, “The change needed to turn the country around to better virtue and sustainability can only be achieved through large scale, gradual change.” Ultimately, if it’s true that “young people are realigning themselves with conservative values and a desire to reclaim what conservatives feel America has abandoned, we can begin to enact gradual, productive change without potentially destructive revolutionary action.” And “hopefully this is change that can affect the hearts and minds of the whole culture,” he added.

Moving forward, Pressler argued the primary “role of young people is to educate ourselves to make sure we make informed decisions on the ballot and in our lives.” As he concluded, “If we want change, we must go forward soberly and with prudence. History has shown that” the wrong “change often leads to further destruction.”

Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.