Cathy Reisenwitz

This week another Reason/Rupe poll came out, this one on the political leanings of my generation, the Millennials. One interesting thing to note for people concerned with how we vote is that a plurality of Millennials surveyed who described themselves as “liberal” express support for downright libertarian positions.

Liberal, to many Millennials (33 percent), just means belief in “social tolerance, openness, and personal freedom.” And far from preferring a leviathan state, many Millennials said they were liberal because people should have freedom to do what they want in their personal lives without government interference.

So how does that impact our voting? More liberal millennials than conservative ones indicated support for a classically “libertarian-leaning candidate,” by a margin of 60 to 27 percent. But nearly half of conservative millennials oppose a “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” candidate.

Here’s the deal. Conservative Millennials won’t vote for a Democrat. They especially won’t vote for any of the Democrats being floated. But what this poll is showing is that liberal Millennials are fed up with a Democratic party which has been anything but liberal. Consider that 60 percent of Hillary Clinton voters and 56 percent of those who approve of President Obama say they would support a fiscally conservative, socially liberal candidate. They’re open to free markets, as long as they get their personal freedoms.

In total, a majority—53 percent—of millennials say they would support a candidate who described him or herself as socially liberal and economically conservative.

So what does that mean?

Young people were key to Obama’s election and re-election. Ignoring their wishes not only harms the GOP now, but also going forward.

Traditionally, the GOP has had an all-too-testy relationship with its libertarian wing. Mediaite’s Andrew Kirell:


Cathy Reisenwitz

Cathy Reisenwitz is a Young Voices Associate and a D.C.-based writer and political commentator.