Young Republicans a Proud Minority

Young Republicans a Proud Minority

CHICAGO (AP) — Ladarius Beal is a rarity on the South Side of Chicago.

He is a young Republican, a suit-and-tie-wearing island of conservatism in a sea of Democrats, many of them supporters of presidential candidate Barack Obama, who lives nearby.

The 17-year-old’s top political issues have their roots in his evangelical Christian faith: he adamantly opposes abortion and believes in marriage as a union between only “one man and one woman.” And one day, he hopes to vote for Mike Huckabee, the Baptist preacher and former Arkansas governor who dropped out of the presidential race when John McCain secured the GOP nomination, but vowed to build upon his conservative voting base.

“He does not let anybody make him feel ashamed about what he believes. And that’s how I am,” says Beal, a junior at Chicago’s Julian High School, where he’s known as the “preacher” for regularly riling up fellow students with his views.

He is a young black man living amid the “Obama-mania” that has overtaken not just his predominantly black high school, but college campuses across the country. He is among the up-and-coming Republicans who stand proudly against the tide, even if they are in a distinct minority.

An AP analysis also found that a notable number of young Republicans, like Beal, have conservative leanings. The analysis of exit poll data from 2008 presidential primaries found that Republican voters younger than age 30 tended to be more conservative than their elders:

_ A third of those young Republicans oppose abortion in all circumstances, compared with 23 percent of Republicans age 30 and older.

_ They also were 10 percentage points more likely to say the top quality in a candidate is that he or she “shares my values.” Older Republicans were more likely to cite experience.

_ And young Republicans were nine percentage points more likely than older Republicans to vote for Huckabee.

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