The Republican Party has dug itself a hole with regard to young, educated voters. Although Americans under 30 are less likely to vote than their older counterparts, they are a rapidly growing proportion of the electorate. Gen Z Americans, a cohort that includes today’s college students, now make up almost a quarter of the nation’s population. They are in line to be the nation’s most formally educated generation, with higher high school graduation rates and lower dropout rates than earlier cohorts.
But the Republican Party has done more to alienate young, college-educated voters in recent years than ever before. A nationwide poll fielded in late September by College Pulse of more than 1,500 students at 285 different colleges and universities shows that nearly three-quarters of college-age voters do not think the Republican Party represents them in any capacity. Sixty-six percent of students today cannot imagine registering as Republicans in the next 10 years, when their voices may be even stronger. And a striking 43 percent of respondents think the Republican Party is flat-out racist; only 31 percent disagree. (The poll, which we co-sponsored, was conducted by College Pulse, a firm that specializes in student polling and frequently supplies data to researchers. Their online surveys are weighted and rebalanced to reflect the national population of college students.)