Young Voters Want to See Younger Leaders, Poll Finds

July 30, 2018, 8:02 PM UTC

Young people are disappointed in the current political system, and they want to see change. According to a poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV, individuals between the age of 15 and 34 are pessimistic about American politics, and think younger politicians can do a better job.

About 7 in 10 young people say American politics are dysfunctional, and more than three fourths think leaders from their own generation would do a better job than current politicians, according to this study.

“These older Congress people, they don’t understand the internet and they don’t know what they’re talking about,” Greg Davis, a 29-year-old from Grandview, Ohio, told PBS NewsHour. He says he was frustrated watching the senate ask soft questions of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg at his privacy policy hearing last spring. “The questions that he was getting asked about security and privacy were asinine. We need leadership that actually understands tech.”

With this disappointment comes action, however. The poll found that 62% of young people believe their generation is motivated to make positive changes in the U.S., and 63% say that voting in the midterm elections will allow their generation to create real change in the government. That being said, less than a quarter say they feel they have enough information to make an informed decision in the 2018 midterms.

Still, they know they want to vote for someone different. Less than 1 in 5 express excitement about voting for any candidate who is a lifelong politician, white, older, or a celebrity. Instead, the younger generation is more focused on issues. Two-thirds express excitement about a candidate who cares about the issues that affect them.

“When it comes to the issues that young people care about, they cite health care, immigration, and the economy as the most important,” said Trevor Tompson, vice president for public affairs research at NORC, in a statement. “It remains to be seen how this excitement translates to voter turnout, but most young people believe that their generation is motivated to make positive change.”

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