Pew Study Shows Generation Gap in American Politics

A few weeks ago, we wrote about the new Gallup Poll that shows some states that are traditionally heavily conservative are now considered competitive. Since then, Pew has released a new study showing that the generational gaps are wider than they have been in decades and Generation X-ers and Millennials have an increasingly liberal outlook on politics.

Here’s a handy guide to the different generations referred to in the next few graphs:

Generations defined
On Trump’s job performance, 27% of Millennials approve vs. 44% of Baby Boomers who approve.

Generational differences in job approval much wider for both Obama and Trump

Some of the political leanings might have to do with ethnicity. From Pew:

Increased racial and ethnic diversity of younger generational cohorts accounts for some of these generational differences in views of the two recent presidents. Millennials are more than 40% nonwhite, the highest share of any adult generation; by contrast, Silents (and older adults) are 79% white. But even taking the greater diversity of younger generations into account, younger generations – particularly Millennials – express more liberal views on many issues and have stronger Democratic leanings than do older cohorts.

The gaps in social issues are staggering. Millennials remain the most supportive generation of same-sex marriage and believe that racial discrimination is one of the main reasons African Americans can’t get ahead in the United States.

Across generations, increasing shares say immigrants strengthen the country

Growing gap on whether discrimination is main barrier to blacks’ progress

When it comes to liberal views vs. conservative, only 12% of Millennials hold a conservative opinion – that’s the lowest it’s ever been. They’re the most diverse group of Americans, too.

More than four-in-ten Millennials (currently ages 22 to 37) are Hispanic (21%), African American (13%), Asian (7%) or another race (3%). Among Gen Xers, 39% are nonwhites.

Nation’s growing diversity reflected in its younger generations

Religion is also fading from importance with Millenials – only 29% surveyed for the Pew study say one doesn’t need to believe in God to be a moral person. One in three are also religiously unaffiliated.

The differences are wide among the generations, especially when it comes to big government, health care, abortion, DREAMERS, legalizing marijuana and same sex marriage. One area that hasn’t changed much is, shockingly, gun policy.

In the past, modest generational differences in views of gun policy
These are all interesting clues to how the future of the country will be shaped as Millennials and Generation Z (the generation after Millennials) begin to vote and change policies.

Of course as the old saying goes: “If You Are Not a Liberal at 25, You Have No Heart. If You Are Not a Conservative at 35 You Have No Brain.”

We’ll just have to wait a few years to see if the youth of the nation retain their liberal views or become more conservative as time goes on.

-K

 

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