The GOP’s new ‘gilded age’

DALLAS — The GOP may have the White House and Senate, but there’s not a lot to celebrate as the party struggles to keep pace with a wave of retirements, rising health care costs and a stagnant economy.

The GOP is struggling to win over voters who were fed up with gridlock in Washington, D.C., a generation ago and say the party’s economic policies haven’t been effective, according to a new national poll.

The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll finds that only 33 percent of Republicans approve of the way Republicans are handling the economy, a steep drop from 54 percent last year.

Just 19 percent of Democrats approve of how Republicans are doing the economy.

Just 22 percent of independents, who are typically the most conservative wing of the GOP, say the GOP is doing a good job of handling the economic situation.

And just 19 percent say the Republican Party is doing an excellent job of managing the economy compared with 50 percent who say the same about the Democrats.

The poll is the latest in a series of national surveys that show the GOP’s struggles.

While the GOP has been making headway with younger voters, the party is struggling with older voters.

About half of Republican voters ages 65 and older disapprove of the party, compared with 45 percent who approve.

That gap is larger among Democrats, who approve of GOP policies but not the economy at a similar rate.

The party’s woes with millennials are similar to those with African Americans and Hispanics, who also have been increasingly dissatisfied with the party.

But with millennials, the gap is smaller, at 49 percent approving and 47 percent disapproving.

Among Democrats, the approval gap is just 21 points, while among independents it’s 50 points.

The poll also found that Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to say the economy is in poor shape.

Forty-eight percent of those who identify as Democrats approve, while just 21 percent of GOP voters say the country is in bad shape.

The numbers are even worse for Republicans, who disapprove by an average of 70 points of those voters who identify with the GOP.

The survey found that younger voters are far less likely than older voters to approve of Republican leaders, and Democrats are more likely to say that the party does not represent their values than Republicans.

The survey found only 14 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds approve of House Speaker Paul Ryan, while 45 percent say they don’t approve of him.

The same is true of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), whose approval rating is just 27 percent.

Even the Democrats are less likely to like GOP leaders than Republicans: Only 26 percent of Democratic voters approve of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), while 57 percent of Republican men and 59 percent of women say the Senate does not reflect their values.

The difference is even more pronounced among younger voters.

Only 22 percent approve of Mitch McConnell, compared to 56 percent of adults ages 18 to 29.

And while Republicans are generally more likely in the country to say they believe the economy can get better, the number of Republicans who believe the country can get worse has increased since last year, from 16 percent to 27 percent, according a Morning Consult survey conducted in late December.

While it’s too soon to tell how many of the country’s young people will vote in November, one of the poll’s findings is encouraging: Among millennials, 40 percent think Trump’s policies will help the economy while just 17 percent say he will hurt it.

The results show that Republicans have a relatively strong grip on voters’ minds, even as their party is facing challenges from a coalition of young voters who are increasingly critical of Trump and who are dissatisfied with Congress and the GOP on Capitol Hill.

A majority of millennials are also frustrated by what they see as the GOP party’s failure to get along with the left, especially Democrats.

Just 20 percent of millennials say they support Trump’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, compared by 61 percent who said the same for the president’s proposed tax cuts and 51 percent who support his immigration plans.

And nearly six in 10 millennials say that Republicans in Congress have failed to represent their views on social issues.