Here’s Nate Silver’s analysis:
What’s interesting, though, is what happens when we look at not these abstract generational categories, but rather at the following question: who was President when you turned 18? As annotated in the chart below, the popularity — or lack thereof — of the President when the voter turned 18 would seem to have a lot of explanatory power for how their politics turned out later on:
It’s common knowledge that demographic trends favor Democrats right now. What Silver’s analysis suggests is that it can be hard to reverse these trends once voting patterns set.
This is why I believe that the Steve Schmidt/Meghan McCain theory that Republicans should pivot away from divisive cultural issues is probably correct. The focus on this turns off younger voters and, when you’ve already turned off eight years of voters, you can’t afford to lose another eight.