Republican report: Health care important to young voters, party on the wrong side

Logo of the College Republican National Committee (cropped)

Today saw the release of the latest internal post-election report on the Republican Party, this time from College Republicans.

Much of it is not pretty, spelling out problems in what the party is saying and how it says it.

Americans believe in opportunity. However, the report says,

[Republicans have] become the party that will pat you on your back when you make it, but won’t offer you a hand to help you get there.

While the report makes suggestions on how Republicans deliver their message and what words and tone it uses, it’s clear that the young people studied by the report’s authors do not share the party’s vision on key policy areas, including health care.

Health care matters to the young – and they prefer Democrats’ approach

According to the report:

In the August XG survey, young voters handed Democrats a heavy advantage on the issue, preferring their handling of health care to Republicans’ by a 63-37 margin.

To be sure, young people in focus groups in polls had some questions about how well the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) would work. However,

Despite these concerns about the law, the general sentiment seemed to be that at least Obama had attempted to change things. Few felt like the current health care system was working well, and thus even with their concerns about how Obamacare might turn out, they once again gave the president credit for trying. As one participant in our focus group of young men in Columbus put it, “at least Obama was making strides to start the process of reforming health care.”

As the report notes, young voters have not always voted for Democrats. Ronald Reagan did well with younger voters.

But today’s youth see many problems with Republicans, including their complete lack of effort on health care.

As political scientists know, this could be very important to politics in the long run. Young voters’ initial preferences tend to harden and can be maintained for decades to come.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.