Tuesday's election results are still unofficial, but political consultants and activists are eagerly surveying the latest election results to infer how New York voters might behave next year — energizing advocates focused on registering young people to vote in 2024.
State Republicans are confident their wins this week show New York voters are blushing a deeper shade of red.
Republicans made surprising gains, picking up a Bronx city council seat for the first time in 40 years, and continuing a Long Island takeover years in the making. Democrats held their ground in other areas, pulling wins in Monroe and Sullivan counties, but Republican mayoral candidates won big, flipping four cities upstate.
"Republicans from New York delivered the House in 2022, and I am confident that we're going to be the ones that keep the House in 2024," New York State Young Republicans Chairman Peter Giunta said Thursday.
Giunta, 29, cited recent surveys of high school students that show twelfth-grade boys are almost twice as likely to self-identify as politically conservative instead of liberal.
He said young voters in the state have shown an increased interest in Republican values, chipping away at the state's Democratic stronghold. More than 25 New York Young Republican chapters have opened across the state since 2021, or 32 total.
More than 100 Republican candidates aged 40 and under appeared on the state ballot this election, up from more than 40 last year, Giunta said.
"That shows that there is strength behind this movement," he added.
The group plans to focus on building GOP support in Western New York, the Hudson Valley and areas in some of next year's most competitive congressional contests, including NY-17 and NY-18.
The political pressure will continue to pile on New York over with six competitive congressional races next year that could determine which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives. Activists who work to register young voters say preparations for 2024 are underway, but they have their work cut out for them.
Abortion continues to be an issue that gains votes for Democrats, but concerns about the influx of migrants to New York, the economy and public safety resonate deeply with voters.
Giunta said young people have attended rallies to protest issues related to the influx of migrants arriving in the state and available shelters who are not registered Republicans.
"What we noticed is, even if they weren't registered Republican, they were still coming out because it was something that was directly affecting their community," he said.
But advocates agree 2024 will pose difficult choices for voters — especially independents.
An increased number of New York voters are not registered in a political party. The state has more than 3.1 million registered "blank" voters who do not belong to a political party, up more than 133,000 people since 2020.
But enrollment in all parties has shifted since the state's ongoing population decline.
New York has also lost about 400,000 registered Democrats over the last three years, totaling roughly 6.4 million New Yorkers down from 6.8 million in 2020, according to state Board of Elections data.
New York has about 2.8 million registered Republicans, down about 100,000 people since 2020.
Leaders in both groups are mulling factors that could keep younger voters engaged through the next competitive election cycle, including the economy and the potential for a larger global conflict amid the Israel-Hamas war.
"We need to talk to young voters, not only in the two weeks before each election, but in the two years before each election," said Jack Lobel, press secretary with left-leaning Voters of Tomorrow NY. "...When young voters are left out of the political process that is oftentimes lost votes for Democrats."
Concerns about the president's age may also serve as a catalyst for the youth to stay involved and cast their ballots.
Lobel, a 19-year-old sophomore at Columbia University, says Voters of Tomorrow focuses on engaging young voters on issues important to them.
"We're not fighting for a certain party, we're fighting for Gen Z," Lobel said, referring to people born between 1997 and 2012.
Generation Z is the most ethnically diverse and politically engaged generation in American history.
New York Republicans and Democrats alike say they will have increased presence on college campuses next year and register as many young people to vote as possible. Proposed legislation would permit same-day voter registration in the state, which could impact next year's elections depending if the Legislature takes the measure up for a vote next session.
U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-21, who chairs the House Republican conference, has led an effort to spend $100 million in campaign funds to reelect Republicans to the state's congressional delegation. Meanwhile, several New York Democrats in Congress have spent thousands of dollars for youth vote outreach.
Lobel on Thursday charged Democrats in traditionally deep-blue New York to not become complacent.
"Sustained youth voter outreach is what's really going to make the difference in terms of bringing young people into the political process," he said. "...Gen Z has the power to shape elections, anywhere. We are a force to be reckoned with, we just have to do a better job of engaging them."