Idaho is a very Republican state, as election results and Idaho Politics Weekly polling by Dan Jones & Associates finds.
But Democrats here could have a chance if they can reach younger Idahoans and convince them to give their party a look-see, polling shows.
-- 42 percent of Idahoans say they are Republicans.
-- Only 18 percent say they are Democrats.
-- 30 percent say they belong to no political party, or are unaffiliated.
-- 9 percent say they belong to a minor party, like the Green or Constitution or Libertarian.
-- And 1 percent declined to tell Jones which party they favor, if any.
But the opening for Democrats comes in those 18 to 29 years old, or Idaho’s youngest voting ages.
Among that group:
-- 33 percent say they are Republicans, or nearly 10 percentage points fewer than the average.
-- Only 15 percent say they are Democrats.
-- But 42 percent say they are independents – and so can be more easily wooed by one of the parties.
-- 10 percent say they belong to some minor political party.
-- And none refused to give Jones their political preferences.
But after the age of 30, Idahoans begin to break out along more traditional voting patterns for the Gem State.
-- Among those 30-39: 41 percent are Republicans, 20 percent Democrats, 29 percent independents, 12 percent other parties.
-- Those who are 40-49: 46 percent Republicans, only 11 percent Democrats, 30 percent independents, 12 percent other parties.
-- The 50-59 year olds: 44 percent Republicans, 21 percent Democrats, 23 percent independents, and 12 percent other parties.
-- 60-69 year olds: 41 percent Republicans, 18 percent Democrats, 35 percent independents, 6 percent other parties.
-- And for those 70 and older: 47 percent Republicans, 21 percent Democrats, 26 percent independents, and 6 percent other parties.
So for all of the age groups, Republicans out number Democrats 2-1.
But among the youngest adults – 18-29 years old – the political independents make up the largest chunk of voters, 42 percent.
Will younger Idahoans of this generation follow their parents’ political lead and become Republicans?
In just a decade of age – to the 30-39 year olds – the independent group goes from 42 percent to just 29 percent, a significant drop in the number of Idahoans who remain undecided about which political party they wish to affiliate with.
Jones polled 617 adults from Feb. 26 to March 15. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent.