The GOP is not the republican party any more. They are not one in the same. The GOP is the group of establishment republicans such as John McCain, Lindsey Graham and now seemingly Marco Rubio. The GOP has continually moved further and further and left and continued to hold progressive stances on nearly all hot button issues. This is not what young voters want; when asked if they prefer tea party ideals without the name being there, the majority of people agree with nearly all of the tea party ideals (1). Young voters are not moving more to the left, they are moving more to the right. It is the GOP (establishment republicans)that continually move to the progressive left and polls have repeatedly shown that these views are rapidly losing followers.
In conclusion, yes, young voters will turn away from the GOP. No, they will not move to the democrats or progressives. Yes they will move to the conservatives.
The modern day GOP is lost. They have been hijacked, first by the religious right and now by the Tea Partiers. Both of these groups are fringe movements without real staying power. If the Republican Party doesn't grow and change its positions on issues that the American people have already changed their opinions on, it will fade away and die.
Of course I find this unlikely, the GOP will change, but the question is whether it will change by choice, or if the older generation will die out and allow a younger generation to bring the party back toward the center.
As a liberal, I hope for the former. I am not always happy with the Democratic Party, but on the national stage, I don't have many options. In my opinion, the GOP needs to clean up its act so it can again act like the "Faithful Opposition" we need in our two party system.
The Republican's party refusal to change their age-old stances has alienated the majority of young people. They focus on helping the rich and don't think the poor should be helped. Growing up in the Great Recession has made many young people doubt the big businesses that are supported by the GOP.
The Republican party is still seen as the white old men. And in our ever growing diverse nation, less and less people are connecting to the Republicans.
Their stances on same-sex marriage, immigration, and Climate Change also alienate younger people because they've grown up with these things in their life. Homosexuals are more open, the Hispanic community is growing, and Climate Change is a proven fact.
The GOP has a chance to redeem themselves by passing immigration. However, i don't think the House will pass it and they will lose the Presidential in 2016.
The Republican Party generally appeals to the more established and (usually) the older portion of the population. I believe that the Democratic will continue to appeal to a more idealistic young populace for the long haul. Several of the key issues- such as the environment and healthcare- tend to appeal to a generation that wants EVERYONE to be happy and equal.
Young voters, along with the rest of America, have been turning away from the GOP for a while now, and it is well known that if the party doesn't change its way, it'll die. However, the party seems to have finally begun to listen to the people. The original (notice I said original and not current) Tea Party (meaning Ron Paul and other true, traditional Republicans) is taking the party back, the young voters like that. If the original Tea Party can continue its expansion, and further expose this one-party system for what it truly is, welfare spending or warfare spending, the young voters will return, and we may see a Republican in office again. In fact, if they drop their interventionist foreign policy (which many Democrats support as well), we may see a GOP candidate become president by as early as 2016!
One thing I've noticed is the "death of the republican party" as a major topic on MSNBC-esque television shows and websites like MotherJones. Well, I'll raise my hand in guilt, saying that we stated that the Democratic party was dead in 1980 after Carter... And before that, our party was dead after Nixon... And before that... Well, you get the picture.
In our two party system, the loser will always depend on the winner making a misstep, or will reform themselves in order to make a more correct step towards garnishing more voters.
Now, young people turning away as a voting population of immense importance to the Republican party? I don't think that is the case, despite the baby booms of the 80's and 90's. They're going to turn into their parents, just like the rest of us did years ago. The GOP values appeal to the older middle class and higher, whereas the Democratic values appeal to the youth of America, and the middle to lower classes.
I've met too many young individuals who are skeptical of their government and of the two party system to believe that they're going to pile in with the democrats. There are many who don't quite understand politics or the history of the 21st century, with many who have told me that the Republicans held Congress until 2008... Which, hilariously, wasn't the case. Those young men are now Libertarians and Independents who try their best to research the topic, and won't trust misinformation.