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GOP Survey Of Young People Reveals They Support Progressive Policies

By Igor Volsky  

"GOP Survey Of Young People Reveals They Support Progressive Policies"

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(Source: PolicyMic)

The College Republican National Committee released a report on Monday outlining the major challenges facing the GOP as it seeks to rebrand and redefine itself in the aftermath of the 2012 election. The survey criticizes the party’s singular focus on “big government” and “tax cuts” and calls on Republicans to become more tolerant and open on issues like same-sex marriage and women’s reproductive health.

But a close reading of the 90-page report finds that young people have strong disagreements with Republican policies — including large parts of former candidate’s Mitt Romney’s platform — and are far more likely to support progressive positions. Here are 11 examples:

1. GOP economic polices are to blame for the recession. “Although ‘Republican economic policies’ is the factor least likely to be viewed as playing a major role in causing the crisis, this is mostly due to young Republicans in the sample hesitating to pin blame directly on their own party, and an outright majority of young people still think those Republican policies are to blame – hardly an encouraging finding.”

2. Lower taxes will not create jobs.” In the August 2012 XG survey, there was not a strong consensus around the virtues of lowering taxes and regulations on business. Only 34% of respondents in that survey thought they’d be better off if the corporate tax rate were lowered, and only 36% thought such a move would make it easier for young people to get jobs.”

3. Increase taxes on the wealthy. “Perhaps most troubling for Republicans is the finding from the March 2013 CRNC survey that showed 54% of young voters saying ‘taxes should go up on the wealthy,’ versus 31% who say “taxes should be cut for everyone.”

4. End the attacks on women’s reproductive health. “[T]he issue of protecting life has been conflated with issues around the definition of rape, funding for Planned Parenthood, and even contraception. In the words of one female participant in our Hispanic voter focus group in Orlando, “I think Romney wanted to cut Planned Parenthood. And he supports policies where it would make it harder for a woman to get an abortion should she choose, even if it were medically necessary. That goes head in hand with redefining rape.”

5. Expand universal health care coverage. “Many of the young people in our focus groups noted that they thought everyone in America should have access to health coverage. In the Spring 2012 Harvard Institute of Politics survey of young voters, 44% said that “basic health insurance is a right for all people, and if someone has no means of paying for it, the government should provide it.” … 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.”

6. Provide comprehensive immigration reform. “The position taken most frequently by young voters was that “illegal immigrants should have a path to earn citizenship,” chosen by 35% of respondents… Some 19% chose “illegal immigrants should be deported or put in jail for breaking the law,” while another 17% took the position that “illegal immigrants should have a path to legal status but not citizenship.”

7. Cut the defense budget first. “Indeed, a large number of respondents pointed to the defense budget as the place where cuts should start. In the survey, 35% of respondents thought that “we should have a smaller defense budget and leaner military,” including 49% of young independents.”

8. Democrats are more responsive on student loans. “Many focus group members did think that Democrats were responding to the student loan crisis. “I think they’re more in tune to what we need right now with student loans, getting a job, fixing the housing market and the environment,” observed one participant from Orlando, with another adding that he had “heard Obama once say, oh, he has student loans, he went to school, he knows what we’re going through.”

9. Climate change is real. “Ultimately, while voters may say they are concerned about climate change, they rarely list it among the issues on the top of their minds.”

10. Bush’s wars blew up the deficit. “The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan themselves, however, were largely viewed as having been a net negative for the U.S. In fact, during focus group discussions about the recession, one respondent said she felt that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had contributed in part to the economic crisis.”

11. Marriage equality for all. “Surveys have consistently shown that gay marriage is not as important an issue as jobs and the economy to young voters. Yet it was unmistakable in the focus groups that gay marriage was a reason many of these young voters disliked the GOP.”

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