Democrats have reason to cheer, but cause for worry too.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: A new survey shows that the generation gap between Millennials – those born or coming of age during the turn of the millennium – and their Baby Boomer parents is even more than it was between their parents’ and grandparents’ generation, especially when it comes to politics.
The data – which comes from a poll conducted by the Reasons Foundation and Rupe foundation, and released by Time Magazine – puts numbers to some trends that, in all honesty, are not particularly surprising. For example, it’s not exactly a secret that today’s younger crowd tends to skew Democratic, but what the survey shows is that Millennials mostly don’t even identify as Democrat or Republican – they either call themselves “liberal” or not.
About 22% of those polled in the 18-29 age range for Millennials say that they are Republican, which is significantly less than the 40% in the Baby Boomer generation (defined as those born between 1946 and 1964). Meanwhile, 43% say they are Democrats, only slightly less than the 49% of their parents who say the same thing. But a staggering 34% say that they are independents, which is far higher than the 10% of Baby Boomers claiming the same thing.
Just over 60% of Millennials call themselves liberal, but here’s the real kicker: that word, “liberal,” really only seems to apply to social issues. About 2,400 individuals in the Millennial age group were surveyed for this study, and about 53% of them said that when it comes to choosing a political candidate that they can support, they hope to find someone who is socially liberal but fiscally conservative – an independent notion, to be sure, and one that is increasingly hard to come across on Capitol Hill, which is more partisan than ever.
The survey also shows that most Millennials have little-to-no identification with the Cold War and terms like the Soviet Union, and that despite a large portion of 18-29 year-olds saying they would support Socialism, only 16% of them actually know what the term means. About 60% of those surveyed say income should be based on hard work, not government re-distribution, even 70% support guaranteed health care, housing, and income.
The biggest number is 78%, which is how many Millennials worry about the growing federal budget and debt, which shows no signs of slowing. That 78% is the number of Millennials surveyed who believe that these are “major problems” that will likely continue to be issues for them as they move ahead.