College Republicans: Stereotypes a drag
June 3rd, 2013
10:52 AM ET
11 months ago

College Republicans: Stereotypes a drag

(CNN) – "Solely for the rich." "Lacking in diversity." "Old-fashioned."

That's how young voters perceive the Republican Party, according to a new report by the nation's largest Republican youth organization.

The College Republican National Committee released a 95-page study Monday detailing its study on voters between the ages of 18 and 29, following President Obama's sweeping victory among the voting bloc against GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

Obama won 60% of the youth vote, compared to Romney's 37%, amount to about five million more votes for the incumbent president, according to CNN exit polls. In 2008, Obama bested Sen. John McCain among young voters, 66% to 32%.

The new report comes just months after the Republican National Committee released its own internal review, which showed similar results in the perceptions of the party across wider demographics. The CRNC argues Republicans have scored well among youth in the past with Ronald Reagan and offered five target areas for which the GOP can refocus its messaging to attract a younger audience.

"The GOP absolutely can win over young people again," the study states. "But this will not occur without significant work to repair the damage done to the Republican brand among this age group over the last decade."

Respondents in the CRNC study said Republicans shouldn't concede "caring" and "open-minded" to the left, with same-sex marriage being an issue of high importance.

According to the CRNC's poll data-conducted by a right-leaning polling firm–a little less than half of young voters said that same-sex marriage should be legal nation-wide, while a quarter said that it should be up to states to decide. Only 30% said marriage should be legally defined as only between a man and a woman.

A large number said they were open to voting for a Republican candidate they disagreed with on same-sex marriage, with nearly four in ten saying it would make them less likely to vote for the candidate that opposed same-sex marriage.

"In the short term, the best course of action for the party may be to promote the diversity of opinion within its ranks (after all, for quite some time, former vice president Dick Cheney was to the left of President Obama on same-sex marriage)," the report states.

But the study finds that young voters want to focus more on economic issues than social maters. The GOP has to convince young people, the report states, that it's the party for entrepreneurs and start-ups, not for those who have already become successful. Nearly half of young people say they want to start their own business one day, the study notes.

"We've become the party that will pat you on your back when you make it, but won't offer a hand to help you get there," the authors write.

But Republican messages on principle and big government may be hurting the party, according to the report.

More respondents said they would favor a candidate who used terms like "fixing the national debt" than candidates who used terms like "reducing big government" and "cutting government spending" to address the issue–with the bottom line being that "fixing" is a more effective word than "cutting" and "reducing."

The Winston Group conducted the survey online in partnership with YouGov by interviewing 800 registered voters between 18-29 nationwide between February 27 and March 4. The CRNC also conducted focus of young Obama voters in California, Florida and Ohio.


Filed under: 2012 • Republicans
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Boo

    Hey "just sayin" – keep drinking the Fox "News" koolaide. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE LIBERAL MEDIA UNLESS YOU WATCH FOX "NEWS." Look at the corporations who own the media outlets and get back to us.

    June 3, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  2. Durundal

    "just sayin
    well when you have a liberal controlled news media, a liberal controlled hollywood, and liberal controlled schools all pushin g the same message it is called indoctrination. communists do it all the time. democrats are leftists so they do it to. if you repeat lies often enough, this is what you get."

    I love how you perceive your group as important enough to be 'embattled' and 'persecuted'. In reality you are the stodgy arrogant leftovers of a bygone era that refuses to fully flush, while reviling the world as it passes you by. Angry rhetoric might unite you, but its also marking your downfall

    June 3, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. Name

    as long as the GOP puts the almighty dollar ahead of the U.S. citizens by letting big corps run over the middle class they will continue a rapid decline.
    .

    June 3, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. Jonquil

    The problem The GOP is facing, is that it seemed more modern during the time of Reagan and "Michael P. Keaton". Then, it did maintain it's support for the entrepreneurial spirit and rallied to respect American traditions - even if, sometimes, with a sense of humor - but that was 30 years ago. Republicans supported Science and technology research and investment because they understood how vital it was to America securing her competitiveness.

    Now, a puritanical weirdness has swept the party and its members are more obsessed with the private 'love" lives of American citizens, than any thing else. The classic education structure of the 1950's and 60's would now be considered too "progressive" for them and they're even suspicious about basic Science and Geography studies. They pretend like no other Americans ever went to Church before them, while still managing to show-up at work and in office and work with different people - that they are the only ones who own truth. Where is the room in the modern GOP for young business leaders who may be g-ay but it's irrelevant to their duties? Or new, legal immigrants who want to establish themselves here and see their children thrive in our country and culture? The GOP claims to be patriotic and the protectors of traditional, American customs but they never reach out and explain why they do, to new immigrants, while trying to include them in these traditions and teach why they are so important. Where is that GOP?

    June 3, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. Wake up People!

    If anyone wonders how the base of the GOP really feel, simply read the comment by Old Rich Guy.
    Wow.

    June 3, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. GOP witch hunt not over

    as long as the GOP puts the almighty dollar ahead of the voters by letting the big money corporations run over the work for a living middle class the repubs will continue its self inflicted decline.

    June 3, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
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