Most political conventional wisdom pegs young voters and the not-yet-of-age as definitively liberal and probably tied to the Democratic Party for life. The saying goes that once a generation votes for the same party three times in a row, they’re lifelong adherents. The youth vote has gone to Obama and the Democrats in two successive presidential elections, but the all-important third may be elusive, for surprising ideological reasons.
Young voters have been one of the driving forces behind the recent surge in support for marriage equality and drug decriminalization, of course. But their party affiliation isn’t determinant there. Sixty-nine percent of voters under 29 support same-sex marriage, but 61% of young Republican voters do as well, and only 18% of them say gay couples raising children is bad for society. Sixty-one percent of voters under 29 also support legalization of marijuana.
This poll doesn’t have the same partisan generational breakdown as the marriage poll, but I would guess the ratio is similar, with a slight majority of young Republican voters opposing marijuana prohibition.
Support for gun control has also fallen the most among Millenial generation voters than other generations in just the last few years, from 59% in 2009 to 49% this year.