Republican soul-searching about what went wrong in the 2012 election often focuses on the youth vote, suggesting that Democrats will continue to win among young voters unless conservatives abandon their traditional positions on social issues.
But this argument ignores the fact that among the big majority of voters 29 and younger who identified as white, Romney won decisively—by a comfortable margin of 7 points. Romney still lost badly among young voters overall because non-white voters comprised 39 percent of the youth vote, compared to 28 percent of the electorate at large. In other words, the core Republican problem isn’t with young voters, it’s with those classified as non-white voters, young, old and middle-aged.
Until Republicans can make progress attracting more support among Latinos, Asians and blacks, they will continue to lose young voters—as well as nationwide elections.