Today’s Youth Care about Poverty but are Unlikely to Vote
"Out of the Spotlight" (OOTS) Posting for April 19, 2012
While the nation has recently seen its share of biting partisanship, a new national survey from the Public Religion Research Institute and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University reveals the obstacles both parties face in reaching America’s younger generation who are increasingly disenchanted over the government response to social issues such as economic inequality.
Most notably, of the 2,000 “millenials” (ages 18-24) surveyed, nearly seven in 10 (69 percent) believe that the government should do more to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, and this view is held by the majority of millenials in both parties. Also, more than three-quarters (76 percent) say jobs and unemployment are critical issues facing the nation. These young adults also express concerns about government’s approach to fighting poverty with two-thirds (67 percent) saying government assistance programs have created dependency among the poor.
Despite their strong convictions, of the 61 percent who are registered to vote, less than half are certain that they will do so in November.
Building on a similar theme, an op-ed in The Washington Post by Tim King, director of communications at Sojourners, notes that young evangelical Christian voters are another group who have not found a comfortable fit in either political party. This group is also vocal about their concerns regarding social issues such as domestic poverty. The author calls on his fellow young Christians “to be both national advocates for justice on a policy level and local practitioners in our own neighborhoods.“ Sojourners has kicked off a “Voting for Us” campaign to encourage young adults to look beyond the parties and engage in issue-based advocacy when it comes time to vote.
In an election season that is proving to be critical for issues regarding poverty and opportunity, Out of the Spotlight hopes to see more efforts focused on getting American youth to vote for what matters to them, regardless of the candidate or party.
Posted by Tamanna
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