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Public Opinion Snapshot: Millennials: Still Progressive After All These Years

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It’s no secret that conservatives have a generational problem. The rising Millennial generation is the most progressive generation in the electorate, and its political influence rises every year as more of that generation becomes eligible to vote.

Conservatives hoped that the severe economic problems of the last few years would solve their generational problem. These problems, they thought, would lead Millennials to blame President Barack Obama and progressives for our current difficulties and desert the progressive camp.

Well, think again. A massive new Pew study on “The Generation Gap and the 2012 Election” indicates that the Millennial generation adults (defined by Pew as those adults born 1981 or after) remain resolutely progressive. Here are a few examples.

On current economic policy, 55 percent of Millennials think the higher priority for the federal government should be spending to help the economy recover rather than reducing the budget deficit (41 percent).

On health care, 67 percent of Millennials either want to expand the 2010 health care legislation (44 percent) or leave it as it is (23 percent). Just 27 percent want to repeal it.

On social issues, 59 percent of Millennials support allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, compared to only 35 percent who oppose this.

On foreign policy, 66 percent of Millennials believe the best way to achieve peace is through good diplomacy, compared to 27 percent who believe the best way to peace is through military strength.

Conservatives were right that they had a generational problem. They still have one.

Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis, go to the Media and Progressive Values page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website. 

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This is part of a regular column: Public Opinion Snapshot

For more from the same column, click here