Winston Churchill once argued that if you were not a liberal when you were young, you had no heart. And if you were not a conservative when you were old, you had no head.
In short, you became more conservative with time and experience.
That may be the case with young Idahoans today – they will become more politically conservative and Republican with age.
Time will tell.
An analysis of age demographics in a recent Idaho Politics Weekly poll by Dan Jones & Associates shows some interesting differences between young adults and their parents, or 18-29-year-olds and 50-59-year-olds:
- Young Idahoans are much less likely to identify with a political party – especially the GOP.
- 48 percent of 50-59-year-olds say they are Republicans, nearly half in that age group.
- But only 31 percent of 18-29-year-olds say the same.
That is a 17 percentage-point difference, a significant statistical variation.
- The Democratic Party holds on to their early adherents better; 14 percent of 18-29-year-olds say they are Democrats, while 12 percent of the older age group agree.
- The big difference is with political independents – those who don’t belong to any political party.
- 35 percent of young adults say they stand with no partisan group, while only 29 percent of 50-59-year-olds are independents.
- A number of young Idahoans say they belong to some “other” political party – most likely the Green/environmental parties.
- 18 percent of 18-29-year-olds pick “other” in the political party break out, only 9 percent of 50-59-year-olds agree.
Jones also inquired about your political philosophy – asking those sampled if they are “very conservative,” “somewhat conservative,” “moderate,” “somewhat liberal,” or “very liberal.”
Idaho is, by and large, a Republican/conservative state.
But, again, young adults are less so than other age categories:
- Under the “very conservative” group; 17 percent of young adults identify with that belief, but 30 percent of 50-59-year-olds do.
- “Somewhat conservative:” 29 percent of young adults compared to 28 percent in the older group.
- Overall, 46 percent of young Idahoans say they are conservative, while 58 percent of 50-59-year-olds agree.
- Add up the “moderates,” and both classifications of “liberals,” and there is again about a ten-percentage-point difference between the two age groups.
- 49 percent of 18-29-year-olds in the combined three categories, 39 percent among the 50-59-year-olds.
And here is a really telling statistic:
- 33 percent of the 18-29-year-old folks say they belong to no religion – they are basically non-believers. That is one-third of the young adult Idaho population.
- While only 13 percent of the 50-59-year-old category say, they have no religion.
Will the youngsters join a religion and attend church later in life?
If not, Idaho is in store for some real demographic changes as the young adults age through the years.
Jones polled 604 adults from Aug. 23-30. The survey has a margin of error of 4 percent statewide.