The Progressive Generation: What Millennials Think About the Economy

A new report by the Center for American Progress outlines the progressive economic views of the youngest voters.
Anyone who has read a poll knows that the economy is the #1 concern for young people today, but what does that mean in terms of the policies they would support? The Center for American Progress just issued a new report that sheds light on this not-often-explored intersection of demographics and policy. The report - The Progressive Generation: How Young Adults Think About the Economy - does much to dispell myths (like the one that says young people are gung-ho about Social Security Privatization), and clarifies the position of Millennials on a number of issues. The report provides some rays of hope to the labor movement, and has a lot to say not just about the economy, but really what Millennials think about the role of government in America.

This should be mandatory reading for campaigns, the Party, and anyone seeking to understand the political beliefs of the youngest generation. Here are the major findings:

  • Millennials are more likely to support universal health coverage than any age group in the 30 previous years the question has been asked, with 57 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds saying that health insurance should come from a government insurance plan.

  • Eighty-seven percent of Millennials think the government should spend more money on health care even if a tax increase is required to pay for it, the highest level of support in the question’s 20-year history.

  • An overwhelming 95 percent of Millennials think education spending should be increased even if a tax increase is required to pay for it, the highest level ever recorded on this question in the 20 years it has been asked.
  • Sixty-one percent of Millennials think the government should provide more services, the most support of any age group in any of the previous 20 years the question was asked.

  • When asked in the General Social Survey whether they were in favor or against the idea that cutting government was a good way to help the economy, Millennials had the lowest support of cutting government spending in the history of the question.

  • Millennials are very supportive of labor unions, giving them an average ranking of 60 on a 0-to-100 scale (with 0 indicating a more negative view of labor unions and 100 being a more positive view), the second-highest level of support of any age group in the over 40-year history of the question.

  • For the more graphically inclined, here's what that looks like in graphs:
    Michael Connery is the author of Youth to Power: How Today's Young Voters Are Building Tomorrow's Progressive Majority. He blogs about progressive youth organizing at Future Majority and is an adviser to a number of progressive youth organizations.
    Sign Up!
    Get AlterNet's Daily Newsletter in Your Inbox
    + sign up for additional lists
    Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
    Election 2018