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Poll: Republican resurgence among young adults

A new poll shows 18- to 29-year-old Republicans are more politically energized than young Democrats and are more inclined to vote in this fall's elections. Young adults are also extremely concerned about the economy.

By Husna Haq/ Correspondent / March 9, 2010

A young man wears a sticker in support of Republican presidential nominee John McCain during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., in September 2008. Young adults have helped with a Republican resurgence in recent months.

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Republicans are enjoying new popularity among 18- to 29-year-olds, which may signal the first step in a Republican resurgence among young adults, a new poll suggests.

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The poll finds young Republicans are more politically energized than young Democrats, and they’re more likely to say they will “definitely be voting” in this November’s midterm elections.

Forty-one percent of young Republicans say they plan to vote in November, compared with 35 percent of Democrats and 13 percent of Independents, according to the poll conducted by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics (IOP), a nonpartisan group.

Fifty-three percent of those who voted for Sen. John McCain (R) of Ariz., in 2008 say they will definitely vote in midterm elections, compared with 44 percent of those who voted for President Obama.

“We’ve seen a reengagement of young adults in the political process in levels not seen in decades,” says Bill Purcell, director of the IOP.

Young Republicans politically engaged

That reengagement seems to be strongest among young Republicans, adds Michael McDonald, associate professor of government and politics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

“My impression is that there’s been a resurgence of young Republican self-identifiers,” says Dr. McDonald, who was not involved in the poll. “In the short-term, this points to a good election year for Republicans.”

That’s not surprising, he says.

As the GOP attempts to rebuild its image following President George W. Bush’s unpopular second term, young voters may be taking advantage of the opportunity to mount an ideological comeback to change the course of the Republican Party. (Monitor report: Young Republicans seek a new kind of party)

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