Poll: Democrats aren’t passing torch to a new generation

Quick! Other than not being the party of Donald Trump, what does the Democratic Party stand for?

Before you answer, keep in mind that in the last election, most Democrats couldn’t even defend the Affordable Care Act in the face of the Republican strategy to run on executing it. The fact it became popular once the GOP dismantled it suggests a strategy blunder by Democratic strategists.

The “we’re not Trump” strategy didn’t work in ’16 and there’s at least a little evidence that banking on it in ’18 has similar risks, if a new poll by Reuters/Ipsos is any indication.

The online survey of more than 16,000 registered voters ages 18 to 34 shows their support for Democrats over Republicans for Congress slipped by about 9 percentage points over the past two years, to 46 percent overall. And they increasingly say the Republican Party is a better steward of the economy.

Although nearly two of three young voters polled said they do not like Republican President Donald Trump, their distaste for him does not necessarily extend to all Republicans or translate directly into votes for Democratic congressional candidates.

That presents a potential problem for Democrats who have come to count on millennials as a core constituency – and will need all the loyalty they can get to achieve a net gain of 23 seats to capture control of the U.S. House of Representatives in November.

“It sounds strange to me to say this about the Republicans, but they’re helping with even the small things,” Nathan Hood, an African American in Louisiana said about his choice in the poll. “They’re taking less taxes out of my paycheck. I notice that.”

In other words: It’s still the economy, stupid.

Republicans fare poorly in the poll. Only a fraction of millennials overtly favor the GOP. The significance is that that doesn’t mean they’ll vote for Democrats.

It’s the type of sentiment that makes people not vote. Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

The generation is split on whether the Democrats or the Republicans are better to run the economy, but two years ago, the generation heavily favored Democrats.

The Democratic National Committee refused to comment to Reuters about the poll, which reveals the party still has a problem figuring out what it’s message is, let alone being able to communicate it.

(h/t: Julia Schrenkler)