Harvard study: Millennials are fearful of the future of the country

Harvard study: Millennials are fearful of the future of the country
According to a Harvard study, roughly two-thirds of young Americans are fearful of the country’s future. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

A Harvard study concluded that 54 percent of millennials, who are now the largest voting group, believe that America is not heading in a good direction.

According to the study by Harvard’s Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School  (IOP), roughly two-thirds of young Americans are fearful of the country’s future, with 82 percent of Democrats expressing fear compared to 58 percent of Republicans. The study also found that 18-29-year-olds are twice as likely to be Democrat.

TheBlaze spoke with John Della Volpe, director of polling at IOP. Volpe was asked, Does the study imply that young Americans’ dislike of President Trump will result in political change?

“President [Trump]’s approval rating is at 25 percent — fewer than those that believe he cares about ‘people like them’,” Volpe said in an email.

“This is certainly a key ingredient to political change,” Volpe said. “The Virginia election turnout and Democratic margin was significant compared to recent elections and [Hillary] Clinton’s performance — we will continue to track.”

Volpe wrote that “the sample was 2,038 interviews with 18-29-year-old population. This was a representative sample of all young Americans — includes people at every level of education from high school to community college, colleges, grad schools, never attended, etc.”

The margin of error was 3 percent, Volpe told TheBlaze.

What does the study claim?

The study claims that “[t]wo-thirds of youth fearful about America’s future, prefer Democratic control of Congress.”

Many of the misgivings center on race relations. According to the study, 79 percent of young Americans “register concern about the state of race relations in the country today.” Fifteen percent of young whites who were surveyed said that their race is “under attack,” compared to 68 percent of young blacks and 46 percent of young Hispanics.

When asked “Do you support or oppose race-based affirmative action programs designed to increase the number of African American and Hispanic students on college campuses?” 46 percent answered that they support it, 28 percent oppose, and 24 percent didn’t know.

Of those surveyed, 55 percent were white, 22 percent were hispanic, 14 percent were black, 7 percent were other and 2 percent were classified as “2+ Races, Non-Hispanic.” A majority, 55 percent, were between the ages of 18 and 24.

The study noted an uptick in young Americans, 64 percent, who believe that “global warming is man-made and mostly caused by emissions.” Although, when asked to choose which issue most concerns them from a list of 50 issues — including terrorism, health care and taxes — global warming ranked among the lowest.

With regard to which national issues most concern them, respondents ranked foreign affairs, 22 percent, and the economy, 15 percent, as more important than what the survey termed “President Trump/Ineffective leadership,” 10 percent.

A majority of those surveyed, 62 percent, were from states in the northern U.S. or Pacific Coast.

Sixty-one percent of the respondents expressed concern for stricter gun laws, which is up 12 points from a 2013 study. A mere 1 percent of respondents, however, considered gun control and second amendment rights the most concerning issue the nation is facing.

Of the millennials surveyed, 53 percent said that they “approve of some professional athletes’ decision to kneel during the National Anthem.” The report concluded that, based on these numbers, “the majority of 18- to 29-year-olds approve,” but neglected to mention that 45 percent of respondents disapprove. The issue varied dramatically in accordance with respondents’ political affiliation: 80 percent of Democrats approve, 17 percent of Republicans disapprove.

In response to the question “Do you consider yourself to be politically engaged or politically active,” 74 percent answered “No,” although 42 percent agreed that they feel “comfortable sharing [their] political opinions at [their] college without fear of censorship or negative repercussions,” while 29 percent disagreed.

The interviews took place between Oct. 31 and Nov. 10.

Is the future actually going to be shaped by millennials’ feelings?

The report seems to conclude that millennials overwhelmingly oppose President Trump and conservative politics, and, as a result, future elects will sway in favor of Democrats.

The study does not account for the generation following millennials, Generation Z. According to Forbes, “Gen Z is more individualistic, more conservative both socially and fiscally . . . Oftentimes Millennials have been criticized for being notoriously liberal, but it looks like the generation right behind us has completely rebelled.”

New York Post article examines the idea that, compared to millennials, Generation Z voters are more likely to vote for Republicans.

The article cites Keystone College political science professor Jeff Brauer, who has studied Generation X. From the 2012 and 2016 elections, there was a 5 percent decrease in Democratic candidates.

“It is unlikely that such significant drops were simply due to the more liberal millennial generation changing their minds from one election to the next,” Brauer said.

“It is much more likely the precipitous drops were due to the more conservative Generation Z being able, for the first time, to express their political inclinations, especially in the economically hard-hit swing states.”

“[Generation Z] is different,” Brauer said. “And they are about to have a profound impact on commerce, politics and trends.”