E.M.D. advocates see an electorate that has hardened into relatively fixed blocs and is growing inexorably more liberal as more diverse voters enter the electorate. Skeptics (like Harry Enten and John Sides) see the electorate as far more fluid, and predict that the next cohort of young voters could lurch rightward just as easily as the last one lurched left.
A recent New York Times story lent some positive attention to the skeptics’ case. The basis for the Times piece was a dataset that showed that white voters had differing views depending on when they came of age. The most recent cadre of youngsters leaned more Democratic than their elders, but it was possible that the next cadre would lean right.
The flaw in the argument was that the dataset analyzed only white voters. The Times didn’t do this because it was racist. The Times made this choice because non-white voters lean heavily Democratic regardless of when they came of age. Only white voters vary generationally[...]Of course, “your [birth year]” only applies if you are white. But the caveat is not a small one. Indeed, it fatally undermines the Teenage Republican hypothesis. The diversity of younger voters is the main thing that makes them more liberal. But the choice to focus on white voters only, which was defensible as a way to analyze the most pliable segment of the electorate, produced a skewed conclusion.
Today, David Leonhardt, who wrote the original Times story about the electoral data, follows up by examining Gallup survey of voters by year. He finds little or no discernible shift of the youngest voters toward the Republican Party.
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