A new report from Libertarian publication Reason, "Millennials: The Politically Unclaimed Generation" (PDF) finds that a majority of young people it surveyed believe that government is "inefficient, abuses its power, and supports cronyism."
By the same token, young people also think that the government should "guarantee health insurance and living wages," and indicate that they plan to vote for Democrats in the 2014 and 2016 election cycles. While the sentiment is interesting, one of the challenges the politicians of all political parties face when trying to utilize this demographic is actually getting them to show up to the polls.
Here's a breakdown on the numbers – from a survey of 2,000 respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 ("millennials"):
– 73 percent favor allowing private accounts for Social Security, while 51 percent favor private accounts even if it means cutting Social Security benefits for current and future retirees; because 53 percent of millennials say Social Security is unlikely to exist when they retire.
– 64 percent of millennials think cutting government spending by 5 percent would help the economy.
• 59 percent say cutting taxes would help the economy.
• 57 percent prefer a smaller government providing fewer services with low taxes, while 41 percent prefer a larger government providing more services with high taxes.
• 57 percent want a society where wealth is distributed according to achievement.
• 55 percent say reducing regulations would help the economy.
• 53 percent say reducing the size of government would help the economy.
By the same token, and in contradiction to reducing the size of the government and government programs, millennials also want to government to provide services:
• 74 percent of millennials say government has a responsibility to guarantee every citizen has a place to sleep and enough to eat.
• 71 percent favor raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.
• 69 percent say it is government's responsibility to provide everyone with health care insurance and 51 percent have a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act.
• 68 percent say government should ensure everyone makes a living wage.
• 66 percent say raising taxes on the wealthy would help the economy.
• 63 percent say spending more on job training would help the economy.
• 58 percent say the government should spend more on assistance to the poor even it means higher taxes.
• 57 percent favor spending more money on infrastructure.
• 54 percent favor a larger government that provides more services, when taxes aren't mentioned.
• 53 percent want government to guarantee everyone a college education.
Several areas the poll failed to solicit opinions on issues that we know are important to millennials like net neutrality rules, spying, censorship of media, and the protection of rights (first and fourth amendment rights to be more specific) associated with those other issues.
You can check out all the results of the poll in Reason's report (PDF).