The mainstream media and the social engineering machines that churn out social science have a habit of creating misleading narratives, then reinforcing them up until the moment reality proves them wrong. They did it with now-president Trump, churning out months of polling claiming he’d never get nominated, and once that claim was disproven, claiming he’d never beat Hillary. A soothing statement to Democrats that resulted in an overestimation of their popularity, and eventual defeat.
Since 2016, Democrats have reassured themselves that despite an upsetting loss last round, ‘young voters’ are solid leftists who will vote President Trump out of office in 2020 and proceed to turn the United States into a border-less socialist paradise run by Bernie Sanders and AOC. Virtually every headline on young voters and the youth vote somberly informs conservatives their rein is coming to an end. It is easy to assume that since Millennials – the generation of social justice warriors, trigger warnings, Tinder, and massive student debt – were so unmistakably left-wing, the next generation will be even more liberal. Assuming this would be a mistake.
The next generation of voters is Generation Z, currently defined as those born after 1995, and their views turn a number of conventional political assumptions upside down.
- 81% of Generation Zers say immigrants must follow the rules to become citizens even if they are difficult.
- 58% of Generation Zers say it doesn’t matter if illegal immigrants cause problems; if they came here illegally, they need to leave or go through the proper procedures to stay. This stance is supported by 86% of Generation Z Republicans, 61% of Generation Z Independents, and 42% of Generation Z Democrats.
- Among young New Englanders, a full 70% say it doesn’t matter if illegal immigrants cause problems; if they came here illegally, they need to leave or go through the proper procedures to stay.
- 73% of Generation Zers support an “America First” philosophy, where the primary goal of any law or policy must be to focus on the needs of Americans, even if they are not in line with the interests of foreign nations and allies.
- 70% of Generation Zers think the U.S. should stay out of international conflicts and only become involved when we are forced to. Among young Black Generation Zers, that number climbs to 74%.
- 68% of Generation Z Republicans, an equal share of Generation Z Democrats (68%) and 71% of Generation Z Independents think the U.S. should stay out of international conflicts and only become involved when we are forced to.
- 63% of Generation Zers want to fix politics from the inside and just 21% want radical change. This number drops to just 15% among young people from higher-income households.
- President Trump’s approval rate among Generation Zers from New England is 37% higher than in the Pacific states, and Obama’s disapproval rate in New England is the second highest in nation.
A recent Quinnipiac poll, covering views of President Trump in light of the the Mueller Report and touching on issues as contentious as adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census (gasp) is an example of why Generation Z needs to be viewed as a separate group from Millennials. Understandably, the pollsters clustered respondents into age cohorts, but the poll lumps 18-year old Generation Zers graduating from high school with 34-year-old Millennials deciding on preschools. Despite this issue, the views of those in their teens, twenties, and early thirties suggest younger voters are still less willing to demonize the President without evidence.
Let’s take a look. When asked whether they think President Trump committed any crimes while he has been president, a smaller share of 18-34-year-olds say Yes than 35-49 year-olds. Less than half (48%) of under-thirty-fives think Trump committed crimes as President, while 50% of 35 to 49-year-olds think he did. Note that the youngest voters are also the most likely of all age groups to admit they Don’t Know, instead of assuming they have all the information to give an accurate response. Nine percent of under-thirty-fives say they Don’t Know, versus 6% of 35 to 49-year-olds.
The poll also asks respondents whether they think President Trump committed any crimes before he was president. While 62% of 18-34-year-olds say Yes, this is a slightly smaller share than the percentage of 35 to 49-year-olds who say Yes (63%). What is more interesting, is that 30% of 18-34-year-olds say No, they do not think the President committed any crimes before taking office. This is the highest percentage among all age groups to take the President’s side, as shown below.
When asked whether they think the Mueller report cleared President Trump of any wrongdoing, 36% of 18-34-year-olds and an equal share of 35-49-year-olds say they think the report cleared Trump. But what is particularly notable is the age breakdown of the groups who say the report did not clear him. Of every age group polled, the 18-34-year-old cohort was the least likely to say President Trump was not cleared by the Mueller report. Just 46% of 18-34-year-olds think Trump was not cleared by the Mueller report, versus 54% of 35-49-year-olds. That might not seem huge, but it demonstrates younger voters still believe the President is guilty despite the evidence at a lower rate than all older voters.
Another contradiction can be unearthed from the question that asks respondents whether they think a citizenship question on the 2020 Census is a Good or Bad idea. While less than half of respondents overall think it is a good idea to determine if participants in the United States Census are, well, United States citizens, young people are the least likely to write it off as a Bad idea. As shown below, just 29% of 18-34-year-olds say it is a Bad idea, versus 35% of 35-49-year-olds and 34% of all other age groups. What’s more, twice as many 18-34-year-olds as 35-49-year-olds admit they “haven’t heard enough” to commit to an answer on the implications of a citizenship question. Again, this is not a massive difference, but it indicates that younger voters are less likely to immediately default to a reactionary political stance when a rational policy issue is put in front of them, and are more likely to admit when they don’t have enough information to decide.
How have Generation Zers voted in the past? While a portion of Generation Zers are still ineligible to vote, My College Options and the Hispanic Heritage Foundation found Trump led Clinton 46% to 31% for first-time voters in 2016, and 42% to 17% among Generation Z males. Among White male high school students, Trump led 58% to Clinton’s 8%. In the 2018 midterms when 18 to 24-year-old voters were detached from older Millennials, they were often the most Republican voting block under age 40. Generation Z voted Republican at higher rates than Millennials in tight races in Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin last November. What’s more, a detailed 2018 study from Public Religion Research Institute found that Trump is viewed favorably by more than 4 in 10 young white men, and that young white men hold increasingly conservative views across a range of issues including reverse discrimination and LGBTQ issues.
The takeaway for Democrats is, don’t count on Generation Z to dismantle the Republican party just yet. The takeaway for Republicans is, don’t write off the youngest Generation as disruptive self-involved leftists incapable of rational thought. A significant amount of research indicates this generation favors the rule of law, is reluctant to accept a social justice narrative, and is critical of the mainstream media’s perpetual putdowns of the President. Generation Zers largely identify as Independents, and hold more libertarian views on foreign policy and putting America first than Millennials. The most important takeaway is that that younger Americans appear to make decisions differently than Millennials do. Generation Zers are more willing to examine policy issues and weigh evidence through a rational lens instead of adopting a reactionary, politically correct position. The social justice ‘script’ if you will, that seems to have been installed into the Millennial generation and resulted in political correctness replacing objective analysis, is buggy and error prone in Generation Z. They think for themselves too much. Generation Zers think about policy issues in terms of measurable outcomes, support rational policies like ending foreign nation-building and enforcing immigration laws, are less likely to condemn the President without proof, and admit when they don’t have enough information to make an informed decision.