"They're all about individuality and accepting people as individuals," says Maue, who leads the TRU Enrollment Insights Program for higher education professionals.
For some young people, an interest in individual freedom has sent them to the Libertarian party. Rachel Palermo, a 19-year-old in Northfield, Minn., is one of them.
"Our loss of trust may be why we have the mentality that the economy would be best with less intervention" says Palermo, a sophomore at St. Olaf College. She plans to vote for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson.
"Even though politician after politician promises they'll improve the economy, they have failed, and we are going to suffer from it."Republicans also have seen an opportunity here. In 2008, Republican pollster Kristen Soltis says she watched disappointedly as her party "really let the youth vote go." This election, that hasn't been the case. Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan has spent time campaigning on college campuses. George P. Bush, son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, has done the same for the Romney-Ryan ticket in that state. Soltis also notes that, last summer, during a recall election in Wisconsin, a slight majority of voters in the 18- to 24-year-old age bracket cast a ballot to keep Republican Gov. Scott Walker in office. "This election is such a huge opportunity for Republicans," says Soltis, who, at age 28, is also a member of the millennial generation. But it remains to be seen whether Republicans can win over these young voters on social issues, especially when the economy rebounds. "Either the party will have to persuade more young people or the party will adapt. I don't necessarily know which way that's going to go yet," Soltis says. Winsett, the DePaul senior, says Republicans would be wise to "shift back to the center" to attract more young people.