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November 08, 2010

Millennials: Still a Progressive Generation

Ruy Teixeira

Conservatives did very well in the 2010 election. But they should not delude themselves that the public now embraces their hard right agenda.

Take the rising Millennial generation (those born 1978-2000), for example. Despite the poor economic situation that hits this group particularly hard they have not abandoned their progressive leanings and come over to the conservative side. Far from it, in fact. Consider these findings from a just-released major poll of 18- to 29-year-old Millennials by Harvard’s Institute of Politics.

More 18- to 29-year-olds continue to identify themselves as liberal (37 percent) than conservative (34 percent). The margin is even more lopsided among those in four-year colleges (48-32).

Nor have they taken much of a shine to the Tea Party. Just 11 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds say they are Tea Party supporters compared to 28 percent of the overall public in a recent national poll.

Finally, there’s the DREAM Act—adamantly opposed by conservatives—that would make it possible for illegal immigrant students to gain permanent residency if they attend college or serve in the military. Millennial 18- to 29-year-olds support the act by 64-31 and college student Millennials by an even more lopsided 68-29.

Conservatives may have won an election, but they are losing an entire generation. They would be wise to temper their current giddy mood by considering the serious implications of this trend.



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