More young people are identifying as conservatives, especially young men. According to a recent Monitoring the Future survey, a growing percentage of 12th-grade boys now call themselves conservative, and the number who adopt the liberal label is falling.
The number of right-leaning boys has doubled over the past 20 years, and only 13% consider themselves on the left. More young women aged 18 to 29 identify as liberal, and Generation Z (born in the 1990s and 2000s) generally considers itself more left than right-wing by a margin of 48 to 33.
While figures show a widening between the genders, the reality is far more subtle, says professor of psychology at San Diego State University Jean Twenge. In her book Generations, Twenge says that young people are reluctant to declare adherence to any political ideology or position, and most identify as moderate. Some political analysts suggest a drift to the left among young women due to the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade, whereas young men are increasingly attracted to conservatism partly due to Donald Trump.
Ethan Benn, a 21-year-old student at George Washington University, suggests Trump speaks to young men because he uses plain language and can relate to ordinary people. Plus, the GOP is generally appealing to men who feel that righting past wrongs regarding gender or race has swung too far in the opposite direction.
In terms of voting, the gender gap over the past few Presidential elections hasn’t been vast. In 2016, 41% of men voted for Hillary Clinton, versus 54% of women. Numbers for Trump were similar with 39% of women supporting him and 52% of men. By 2020, the percentage of women voting for Trump rose to 44%, compared to 55% of men. Taking race into account, the gap gets narrower still: 53% of white women voted for Donald Trump and 57% of white men. The President’s vote share among non-whites is striking, with 92% of blacks, 59% of Hispanics, and 72% of Asians voting for Joe Biden.