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Why Republicans Have a Big Demographic Problem, in One Chart

Getty Images/John Moore

You often hear that Republicans need to pass immigration reform or they are going to become the permanent minority party, unable to win national elections. But they have an even bigger problem lurking ahead and one without an obvious answer: a younger, more liberal electorate.

The Pew Research Center has released a new report titled “The Next America” on the changing characteristics of the country. Here are the vote percentages for Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama across different age groups:

Demographics democrat vs republican
Source: Pew Research Center "The Next America" report

That’s bad news for Republicans, particularly because studies (PDF) have found that young political affiliations often become permanent ones. Many of those young people who voted for Obama will continue voting for Democrats the rest of their lives. As the Silent Generation dwindles and the Baby Boomers reach retirement, the electorate is going to look younger and more liberal. You can see that in two other areas in the Pew report: support for marijuana legalization and same-sex marriage.

Marijuana legalization support by generation
Source: Pew Research Center "The Next America" report
Gay Marriage Support by generation
Source: Pew Research Center "The Next America" report

Check out the full Pew report for more in-depth coverage of the country’s changing demographics.