Jan 19, 2019

How Gen Z could change the GOP

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Data: Pew Research Center; Note: Survey of U.S. adults aged 18+ conducted Sept. 24–Oct. 7, 2018. Teens aged 13–17 conducted Sept. 17–Nov. 25, 2018; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Generation Z is following in Millennials footprints in many ways, but the 13 to 21-year-old Republicans of today could force the GOP to move to the left on some issues if they keep the same views as they get older.

Why it matters: A suspicion of big government has been a defining theme of the Republican Party for decades, but a Pew Research Center survey found that more than half of the next generation of Republicans is open to using government action to solve problems. They're also the most likely generation to embrace racial diversity.

By the numbers:

  • Gen Z is the only generation in which a majority of self-identified Republicans says government should be more active in solving problems.
  • More than half of Gen Z Republicans said increased racial and ethnic diversity is good for society. That's a theme that the current GOP has struggled with, but a more diverse party will be critical to its survival, as almost half of the post-Millennial generation is non-white.
  • 38% said they believe climate change is caused by human activity, compared to less than a third of Millennial Republicans.
  • 43% said that African-Americans are treated less fairly than whites in the U.S., a jump of 13 percentage points from the previous generation.
  • Yet 60% still approved of Trump's job as president.

The big picture: Most of Generation Z isn't even old enough to vote, and their political views could change as they get older. But this generation has already been marked by significant political activism.

  • The Parkland high school students launched an influential gun control campaign.
  • Six teens ran for governor in Kansas.
  • There were efforts to lower the voting age to 16 in D.C. last year.
  • And young voter turnout in the midterms surged in many states.

The bottom line: Maybe the era of big government isn't over after all.

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