By the looks of the most recent nationwide polling, the Republicans may well have the makings of a new guard to choose from to take on the Democrats in 2016. And it is shaping up to be a relatively young field of candidates, especially when compared to the most talked about likely Democratic nominees. But while the Republicans may have the new faces to appeal to a younger, broader slice of the electorate, they remain divided on how, and if the GOP should change itself to be more competitive in the future.
Nonetheless, it is ironic that the GOP, which has lost the youth vote in the last three presidential elections by double digits, has a younger potential field of candidates than the Democrats, who have carried Millennials and GenXers in the last three elections.
Current Republican national leadership includes Rep. Paul Ryan (age 43) with a 65% favorable rating among Republicans and Independents who lean Republican according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. Not far behind Ryan is Sen. Rand Paul (age 50) who has a 55% favorable rating. He is closely followed by 42-year-old Sen. Marco Rubio with a 50% favorable rating. Gov. Chris Christie at age 50 gets a 47% favorable rating from the GOP faithful. In contrast, the Republican party’s older establishment leadership: House Speaker John Boehner (age 63) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (71) get markedly lower ratings. The youngest Republican, Sen. Ted Cruz (age 40), is still not well known by most Republicans nationally.