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How to Win Millenials: Equality, Climate Change, and Gay Marriage

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Two months ago, Derek Thompson walked readers through the results of a huge new survey by the Pew Research Center on Millennials and their attitudes and opinions. As he noted, this generation, roughly defined as people between the ages of 18 and 33, is the object of almost obsessive levels of scrutiny and observation.

Now, another new survey—this one from Harstad Strategic Research, Inc.—adds to what we’re learning about Millennials, especially their views on political issues. That’s important, because this generational cohort now accounts for about one-fourth of the voting age population—a voting bloc even larger than senior citizens.

Harstad, a firm that mostly conducts surveys for Democrats (including Barack Obama), conducted the poll in March and April for the Youth Engagement Fund and Project New America. You can see the survey instrument itself, along with results and an explanation of the methodologyhere. The results are presented in graphic form here.

One big takeaway is that Millennials are strongly supportive of governmental intervention in society on a wide array of issues:

Harstad Strategic Research, Inc.

A different question produced similarly strong opinions about their preferred role for government:

The survey also suggests Millennials place a high value on equality. Respondents were given a list of values and asked, “Which TWO are most important given the challenges we face as a country?” This bar chart shows the percentage citing each value in response, with equality and economic opportunity mentioned by the largest percentage of respondents. Perhaps unsurprisingly, respondents who identified themselves as Democrats prioritized equality and opportunity while self-identified Republicans ranked personal responsibility and accountability higher:

The poll results show Millennials to be overwhelmingly supportive of progressive policies that promote opportunity and economic security:

According to this poll, members of Generation Y are overwhelmingly progressive on key issues like gun safety, climate change and renewable energy, and access to abortion:

 

Although Millennials are lopsidedly progressive in their views, there is still a fair amount of variety in their views, based partly on their demographic and life-situation characteristics. The pollsters used the results to develop seven different attitudinal clusters or segments among Millennials:

The analysts explain those attitudinal clusters this way:

The poll also tried to measure what kinds of issue-related messages especially resonate with Millennials. The survey instrument presented respondents with paragraph-length position statements that potential congressional candidates might take. Respondents were asked to say how persuasive they found such a position. (The statements below are much-abbreviated summaries of those position statements.) The results show that if Democrats are looking to maximize their support among Millennials, issues of economic opportunity and pocketbook security are the ones to emphasize:

But Republican candidates won’t have much to fear from this portion of the electorate if Democratic campaigns cannot get these voters to register and turn out to vote. Twenty-six percent of Millennial respondents report that they have not registered to vote:

And while a slim majority of Millennial voters claim they are certain to vote in the 2016 election, they report that the likelihood of their turning out to vote in the midterm elections is much, much lower:

As noted at the outset, interest in the political attitudes of Millennials is nearly obsessive. In addition to the mammoth Pew Research poll mentioned above, yet another survey of Millennials and their political attitudes was released this spring by Harvard’s Institute of Politics. Although it is not easy to make direct comparisons across polls (most obviously, because of differently worded questions and other methodological issues), it’s worth noting some general points of similarity, as well as some differences, emerging from each of these big surveys:

  • Although all three polls see Millennials as more aligned with Democrats on political issues, the Pew survey found that 50 percent describe themselves as political independents, compared with 38 percent in the IOP poll.
  • All three polls found high levels of support for same-sex marriage and legalization of marijuana.
  • High levels of student debt emerged as a prominent concern in all three polls.
  • Despite facing economic hardships (like high student debt and a tough economy), respondents in all three polls report high levels of optimism about their economic futures.

In general, both the Pew poll and the IOP survey were much more ambitious and more comprehensive than the Harstad poll—and, at least in my view, used preferable polling methods.

But the Harstad survey, commissioned by organizations that have overt political agendas, offers something interesting the other two polls lack. Because the researchers were tasked, in part, with finding out how particular political messages resonate with Millennials, their results give us an especially illuminating window into the strategies that progressive Democratic organizations and candidates may use this fall to win support from this important electoral bloc.

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This piece originally appeared at TheAtlantic.com


Republican Priorities

Iron Knee offers a nice, succinct summary of Republican priorities:

Republicans in the US House are showing us their priorities. On Tuesday, they passed an energy spending bill that is riddled with amendments that are bad for our country. Compared to what Obama requested, they removed funding for clean-energy and efficiency programs, and added additional money for fossil-fuel and nuclear programs.

Imgres-1But the most ironic amendment was one that strips the government of the ability to enforce the light bulb efficiency standards that already went into effect this year. Even though the efficiency law was passed in 2007 — under George Bush — that hasn’t stopped the GOP from using it to attack Obama.

Assuming this amendment survives, it won’t actually do what its promoters claim. The light bulb efficiency law would still be on the books, and US manufacturers have already changed their products to comply with the law, so they will keep making more efficient light bulbs that generate the same amount of light with less electricity. Instead, it will open the doors to unscrupulous foreign manufacturers to dump cheap, inferior light bulbs on the American market (with no way for the government to enforce the law).

So, in one stroke, the GOP shows that it wants to increase our energy dependence, put US jobs at risk, hurt the economy, and increase pollution. Could it be any clearer?


How to Know if Your Dog is a Republican

PlottHoundDuke12Months1It can be hard to know, unless you're tuned-in to the signs that are there.  Washington Post Magazine humorist Gene Weingarten offers help to American dog owners, by outing his own dog Murphy (in photo), who, Weingarten says, seems awfully Republican.  Here are some of the tidbits in an article I advise you to check out:

Some of the evidence is unsubtle and unsurprising: Like other Republicans, Murphy shows inappropriate interest in the reproductive systems of women she does not know, shamelessly sticking her nose into their business. It can be a problem on walks. But other things are more nuanced.

. . .

Like other Republicans, Murphy demands less government; she makes this position abundantly clear anytime I attempt to govern her behavior in any way inconsistent with her immediate desires, such as horking up maggoty chicken from the gutter, which she will do with subversive glee while in a protective crouch. She’s for eliminating federal agencies, particularly the U.S. Postal Service, a position she shares with Ron Paul and reconfirms once a day, impolitely, through the mail slot.

Good lord.  It appears even man's best friend can fall prey to the lure of the GOP.