Young adults typically align themselves with the Democratic Party, but those numbers have become even stronger since 2006, particularly at Wartburg, some students say.
A new Gallup Poll released by USA TODAY found that 54 percent of 18-to-29 year-olds on average since 2006 have aligned themselves with the Democratic Party. Only 36 percent remain Republican.
“The findings aren’t surprising,” student body president Zach Sommers said. “It’s no secret. A lot of people know that young people are more prone to be democratic.”
From 1993 to 2003, the gap among young adults wasn’t as wide. The Gallup Poll showed that 47 percent of young voters on average identified with democrats while Republicans had 42 percent of the vote during the decade.
President Barack Obama controlled the younger population at the polls during his inaugural campaign in 2008, capturing 66 percent of voters under 30 years old according to USA TODAY.
Although numbers dipped for the President during his reelection campaign, he still received an overwhelming 60 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds’ votes to put himself back in office.
A big reason the Democratic Party has seen significant rises in approval from the younger population lies in getting its constituents to the polls.
“I think the Democratic Party does a lot better job at getting its message out there,” Sommers said. “The Republican Party is still seen as being a party for white, old men.”
Professor of Political Science Dr. Dani Thomas said the younger population has favored democrats in recent presidential elections.
However, Thomas believes the numbers may be skewed.
“Like young people generally, most 18-to-24-year-olds locally do not vote in anything other than presidential elections,” Thomas said. “And while that cohort went for Obama in 2012, only 49 percent turned out to vote.”
Thomas believes the gap between democrats and Republicans is slim to non-existent at Wartburg.
Matt Kruger, a third-year engineering major and member of the Republican Party, said the Gallup Poll is an accurate representation of Wartburg College’s student body.
“Being at Wartburg, it has become pretty obvious that most of the students here are democrats,” Kruger said.
“That or they are just more open about their political views than Republicans.”
Kruger believes the Democratic Party is more appealing to Wartburg students and the younger population because of the cost of college.
“The Democratic Party is much more appealing because they are for helping people achieve in areas where they have a hard time financially,” Kruger said.
One thing the three agree on is that the percentage in democratic voters will not continue to rise.
“I don’t think the numbers will continue to rise for the Democratic Party,” Sommers said. “I think the GOP is really starting to take a strong look at why it continues to lose those young voters.”