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Youth Tilt Progressive

by Ruy Teixeira

I have written often about the progressive leanings of young adults, particularly those aged 18 to 24. The latest Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (GQR)/Polimetrix Youth Monitor poll provides fresh evidence of these leanings.

1. Just 27 percent of those aged 18 to 24 years old approve of Bush’s job performance and 61 percent disapprove.

2. Almost three-quarters (72 percent) of this age group believe the war in Iraq was not worth the cost of U.S. lives and dollars, compared to 27 percent who believe it was. And, by 55 percent to 45 percent, they believe the war in Iraq is not part of the war against terrorism.

3. By 58 percent to 41 percent, youth have a basically negative view of cutting taxes, believing that “cutting taxes reduces funding for important services like schools and health care and mostly benefit the rich” rather than “cutting taxes helps improve the economy and allows people to keep more of what they earn.”

4. By 59 percent to 41 percent, youth support abortion rights, believing abortion should be legal in most or all cases.

5. In terms of standard political identification questions, youth give Democrats a twenty-point edge in party identification (49 percent to 29 percent) and are actually substantially more likely to say there are liberal (38 percent) than to say they are conservative (20 percent).

While carefully designed, the GQR/Polimetrix survey was conducted over the internet and, for that reason, should be treated with some caution. On the other hand, the survey findings on youth are broadly consistent with those from standard telephone polls in 2005 suggesting that, while one could argue about the exact level of the progressive tilt among today’s youth, the existence of that tilt is not debatable. Politicians take note.