Millennials Grow More Disillusioned With Government And Politics

Harvard University Institute of Politics' latest Survey of Young Americans’ Attitude Toward Politics and Public Service suggests that Millennials (people aged 18-29) are growing more disillusioned with the country's political leaders and more politically apathetic.

Results indicate a sharp drop in Millennials' approval of President Obama, as well as Democrats and Republicans in Congress.  President Obama used to enjoy higher approval rating among Millennials than the general population as a whole, but this is no longer true: most national polls put Obama's approval rating at 37-40 percent, and this survey shows that only 41 percent of Millennials view Obama favorably--an 11-point drop since April 2013.  His ratings have declined in every subgroup: males (41 percent), females (40), Whites (28), Hispanics (53), Blacks (75); and on all four key issues measured in the survey: Iran (37 percent), healthcare (34), the economy (33), the federal budget deficit (28).

Approval ratings for Democrats and Republicans in Congress also declined, with 35 percent of respondents viewing Democrats favorably, and a mere 19 percent (an all-time low) viewing Republicans favorably.  Not surprisingly, a majority (52 percent) of Millennials say they would recall all members of Congress; 45 percent would recall their member of Congress; and approximately the same number indicate that they would recall President Obama (47 percent).  And only about one-third of Millennials say they will vote in the next mid-term elections.

The researchers conclude: 
"Millennials are losing touch with government and its programs because they believe government is losing touch with them.  This is not to say that young Americans are rejecting politics, the role of government and the promise of America more generally, they are sending a message to those in power that for them to re-engage in government and politics, the political process must be open, collaborative and have the opportunity for impact -- and not one that simply perpetuates well-worn single issue agendas.
While the fate of the Affordable Care Act may well be in the hands of technologists, marketers and regulators, America is bracing for another series of debates on economic issues that will define the role and scope of government for the next decade.  And on these issues, whether the conversation is about student debt, tax policy, the role and scope of the State and Defense departments, education or entitlements, the Millennial generation holds views that are defined less by partisanship and more by the quality of the solution. 
[...]  Millennials have come of age in an era of openness, whether that’s in their online identities or in the way they engage in the public square.  They have been telling us for some time that they have disapproved of the way Washington has been operating and the status quo is not acceptable.  If we listen carefully, they are now beginning to tell us about their economic priorities for the future as well.  Both parties and branches of government are ignoring them at their own peril."

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Frederique Laubepin

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