Under Bush II, the percentage of Americans 18 to 24 years old who describe themselves as Democrats has risen to its highest point in generations, according to Pew poll data.
The chart provides graphical evidence of the slow rolling realignment that is always at work as new young voters gradually replace their elders. Political scientists generally agree that young people tend to acquire political beliefs, including their partisan attachments, in their 20s. As Kirkpatrick writes, “voters typically develop a party preference based on the political atmosphere at the time they come of age and grow more attached to that party over the course of their lives.” Once acquired, a true sense of party changes rarely changes, although some voters are less attached to political parties than others (as I speculated on Friday, some will shift back and forth on surveys depending on the politics of the moment or the wording or context of the survey question).
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