Young Americans Lean Left

A new poll conducted by the New York Times, CBS and MTV shows that Americans aged 17-29 lean toward the political left.

The poll found that 54 percent of young Americans plan to vote for a Democrat for president in 2008, and they give President Bush an abyssmal 28 percent approval rating.

However, those numbers do not convey how alienated young people are from the Republican Party. By a 52 to 36 majority, young people say that Democrats, rather than Republicans, come closer to sharing their moral values. A majority, or 58 percent, of young people hold a "favorable view" of the Democratic Party, while only 38 percent said they had a favorable view of Republicans.

Two of the starker generational differences concern universal health care and gay marriage. Young people have been hit particularly hard by the erosion of private health care, partly because young people are likelier to work in subordinate positions where health benefits have been rolled back. Young people are generally less able to afford private health care.

Whatever the cause, 62 percent of young people said they would support a universal, government-sponsored national health care insurance program, compared to only 47 percent of the general public.

Youths are more progressive on gay marriage, too. Today, 44 percent of young people support gay marriage, up from 41 percent in 2004. Only 28 percent of the general public supports gay marriage.

Young people are slightly likelier to predict a positive outcome in the Iraq War, at 51 percent compared to 45 percent of other adults, though the Times contends that despite conventional wisdom, young people historically tend to support presidents during time of war, dating back to Vietnam and Korea.

On the other hand, 42 percent of youths fear a return of the draft in the next few years, which 87 percent of them oppose. Furthermore, 70 percent of young people believe the country is on the wrong track.

Not only are young people more progressive, they are also following the upcoming presidential election much more closely than they were at this point in 2004, with 58 percent now compared to 35 percent then.

Young people in Mississippi likely mirror the national trend. Although Mississippians chose George W. Bush in the 2004 election, among Mississippi voters under age 30, a staggering 63 percent voted for John Kerry, compared to 37 percent for Bush. Mississippi was the only state in the Deep South where young people chose Kerry.


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