Millennial Independents to Washington: You do not reflect our interests

posted at 7:10 pm on August 2, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Young voters who self-identify as independents draw a tight connection between Washington’s economic policies and the lack of jobs they have experienced firsthand. Among independent voters aged 18 to 29, 55 percent agree that if taxes on business profits were reduced, companies would be more likely to hire. That’s according to a poll recently commissioned by Generation Opportunity, a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that seeks to engage young adults in a discussion about the immediate and long-term economic challenges that face the nation.

An even larger majority of millennial independents (59 percent) recognize that the economy grows best when individuals are allowed to create businesses without government interference. Given the high degree of “government interference” that has characterized this administration (the stimulus, bailouts, the health care law, etc.), it’s no wonder, then, that 59 percent of millennial independents believe the United States is pretty seriously on the “wrong track,” while only 22 percent say the United States is headed in the “right direction.”

Millennials were also highly disappointed with Washington’s handling of the debt ceiling crisis. An informal Facebook poll on Generation Opportunity’s Facebook page, Being American, showed that, as of today, 60 percent of 6,255 respondents opposed raising the debt ceiling at all — and the poll question provided options to raise the debt ceiling with spending cuts, with tax increases and with a combination.

“I think millennials have the clear and demonstrated ability to make connections between what is going on in their own life and what the federal government is doing, not only in terms of what it does for their ability to find a job, but also what it does for the country on a world stage,” said Paul Conway, president of Generation Opportunity and former chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Labor under Secretary Elaine Chao. ”For leaders in both parties, it’s a very clear signal that your action or inaction is being watched by the people who elected you and the people who hold you accountable.”

So, what will millennial discontent mean for the 2012 elections? Past polling data shows some of the college-aged crowd won’t be quite as keen to vote for President Barack Obama a second time around. The numbers from Generation Opportunity don’t speak to that — but they do reveal that millennial voters will think critically before they cast their votes. Sixty percent indicated that in 2012 a candidate’s position on issues and a record in office will be most important when casting their vote, while just 4 percent indicated a candidate’s charisma and likeability is most important. Perhaps even more importantly, 60 percent agree that young voters in 2012 will learn more about the policy positions of the presidential candidates than they did in 2008.

In 2008, President Barack Obama made history by meeting young voters where they were — online. As Conway explains it, reaching out to youth voters was nothing new — presidents from Bill Clinton to Ronald Reagan to JFK to FDR all made youth outreach a hallmark of their campaigns — but the way in which Obama connected with millennials was innovative.

But the way his campaign highly targeted millennials in 2008 might actually backfire in 2012, as youth voters might have begun to feel like they were “used” for their votes and not their input.

“If you go out as a political campaign and you actively seek to engage a demographic and you do that through technology and messaging and, then, when you go from being a candidate to actually governing, if that constituency that you talked to does not believe they’re still being heard, you’ll create dissonance in that target audience,” Conway said.

And this time around, Obama won’t be the only active political force to target young voters online. Generation Opportunity operates on a strategy that combines advanced social media tactics with proven field tactics to reach Americans 18 to 29. Its first major project, the “Being American” Facebook page that featured the poll about the debt ceiling, already sees a lot of activity, as voters in my age bracket respond to questions, share links and sound off about their lives and the issues that most concern them. In fact, the site has already amassed a fan base of more than 860,000 and has drawn more than half a million likes and comments in the first bit of its existence.

But unlike a political candidate, Generation Opportunity doesn’t seek anything in return from youth voters — other than that they think through issues themselves.

“What we’re doing is taking the mirror and putting it in front of them, asking them what they think and enabling them to draw their own conclusions over time,” Conway said.

Conway said it’s a hopeful thing for our country that millennial voters will make up 38 percent of the electorate by 2020 because they’ve already proved themselves adept at consuming information and drawing thoughtful conclusions.

I think Conway is right. As a millennial myself, I find the work of Generation Opportunity extremely hopeful. As I’ve written before, I tend to think the pragmatic, independent bent of millennials is a placeholder. Millennials might not be willing to commit to a stated ideology at this point, but they’re perfectly willing to commit to policy proposals when they’re convinced of their effectiveness. What Generation Opportunity is proving is that, as millennials receive information, they come to logical conclusions that will likely eventually coalesce into a coherent worldview. Whether that worldview is more conservative or more liberal will depend on how well each side articulates underlying principles.

 


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

I hope they are smart enough to vote out Obama and the Democrats… its our only hope…

Khun Joe on August 2, 2011 at 7:13 PM

“But the way his campaign highly targeted millennials in 2008 might actually backfire in 2012, as youth voters might have begun to feel like they were “used” for their votes and not their input.”

I would have said fuc%ed…

Seven Percent Solution on August 2, 2011 at 7:15 PM

My son and one of my nephews turn 18 next year.
Both intend on voting GOP. Both have conservative parents and/or step-parents.
My soon-to-be 18 year old nephew-if he votes @ all-will probably vote Zero.
Being that his dad’s an apolitical republican and his mom’s an ULTRA leftist Catholic- his political views come as no surprise.

annoyinglittletwerp on August 2, 2011 at 7:19 PM

I hope they are smart enough to vote out Obama and the Democrats… its our only hope…

Khun Joe on August 2, 2011 at 7:13 PM

They should be able to do so; they were able to vote him in..

..oh, wait.

The War Planner on August 2, 2011 at 7:20 PM

So the hopey-changey thing was sooo great when they were in college and living off Mom and Dad and the school loan money checks.

Now it’s on three years – no job, living back home with Mom & Dad, and realizing that the student loan debt can’t be erased in bankruptcy. And hard to keep up the payments on the car with the Obama ’08 sticker that just won’t come off…

Wethal on August 2, 2011 at 7:22 PM

This is why it will be soooo crucial for the Obama campaign to viciously demonize his opponent. No one intends to vote for Barry, so they’ve got to convince folks to vote against Generic Republican. It is going to be spectacularly ugly.

Rational Thought on August 2, 2011 at 7:23 PM

But the way his campaign highly targeted millennials in 2008 might actually backfire in 2012, as youth voters might have begun to feel like they were “used” for their votes and not their input.

I know two of them. And they are PISSED!

GarandFan on August 2, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Whether that worldview is more conservative or more liberal will depend on how well each side articulates underlying principles.

Liberals don’t articulate underlying principles…they spout fairy dust and ideology. If you were to drill down to their principles, you’d reveal them to be amoral, vicious liars most of the time. That is, when they’re not being benevolent and buying votes with your money.

ted c on August 2, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Chrissy breaks up with Obama.

Hate to ruin a good song, but if you take the video out of it…. heh.

Key West Reader on August 2, 2011 at 7:27 PM

My youngest, 22 years old, was roped into filming a tea party meeting for me. Although he acted bored and disinterested he absorbed a lot.

Of all my kids, he is most likely to become an entrepreneur and took an acute interest in tax rates. I find most kids his age are not exposed to conservative thinking in their daily lives (tv, internet, school or friends) unless their parents teach it to them.

Fallon on August 2, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Having to rely upon the young, for anything other than military salvation, is not a good idea. They simply haven’t lived long enough to know which way is up, and following someone else’s lead is to abrogate their own sense of responsibility.

First, one has to learn to be responsible, then apply it. The voting age should never have dropped below thirty.

OldEnglish on August 2, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Looks like the future is in good hands. What was it the hike in college tuition to pay for granny’s Obamacare, push them over the edge? They each get to pay an extra 1,800.00. Which is really difficult to do when they can’t find employment.

Come on kids you know the tune sing it for me, Obama, Obama Obama….Oh people get the government they deserve, Thomas Jefferson.

Dr Evil on August 2, 2011 at 7:29 PM

I hope they are smart enough to vote out Obama and the Democrats… its our only hope…

Khun Joe on August 2, 2011 at 7:13 PM

Hopefully they’re even smarter than that and will vote everybody out, other than the 22.

FloatingRock on August 2, 2011 at 7:31 PM

While the general report from this poll is promising, I have to say I HATE those “Is the country headed in the right direction?” questions.

I was polled once during the GWB’s seconds term and said NO. TO me, we were still headed toward a more ‘progressive’ and less free society. But that then gets reported as if we want to encourage the behavior I was opposing.

OBQuiet on August 2, 2011 at 7:34 PM

Hopefully they’re even smarter than that and will vote everybody out, other than the 22.

FloatingRock on August 2, 2011 at 7:31 PM
Neugebauer wasn’t one of the 22 but he did vote nay yesterday.
He’s a good guy-and he’s not going anywhere.

annoyinglittletwerp on August 2, 2011 at 7:37 PM

If Oblamer gets another 4 years the damage will be almost unrepairable.He will get the tax rates he so desperatly wants and the young will be paying the most.They will be living with mom and pop for years since their take home pay won’t be enough to rent a cheap apt much less get a mortgage.If they think about having kids what does the future hold for them?They better be paying attention this time around.

docflash on August 2, 2011 at 7:37 PM

We should refrain from referring to Obama as the first black president.

We must frame this argument as:

America (unknowingly) elected the first Marxist Socialist President.

Do we want that?

………

That is the 2012 Argument.

Key West Reader on August 2, 2011 at 7:41 PM

“I think millennials have the clear and demonstrated ability to make connections between what is going on in their own life and what the federal government is doing, not only in terms of what it does for their ability to find a job, but also what it does for the country on a world stage,”

Apparently they have demonstrated this ability after their moronic votes en masse for Obama. Elections have consequences, children, and not just for you–the rest of us are paying for your vanity votes, too.

DrMagnolias on August 2, 2011 at 7:42 PM

If Oblamer gets another 4 years the damage will be almost unrepairable.He will get the tax rates he so desperatly wants and the young will be paying the most.They will be living with mom and pop for years since their take home pay won’t be enough to rent a cheap apt much less get a mortgage.If they think about having kids what does the future hold for them?They better be paying attention this time around.

docflash on August 2, 2011 at 7:37 PM

He will not be re-elected.

That is the bottom line.

What we need to focus on, is who will lead us forward. Obama is one and done.

Color me perplexed. He won’t be re-elected. Who shall lead us?

Key West Reader on August 2, 2011 at 7:43 PM

Are there election laws that will force this LOSER into returning campaign funds to the donors?

Since they’ll be paying $35.5 with a photo shot, how much are the taxpayers paid? Does he get to keep that for himself? Or, put another way: Can a President profit from his image? On the backs of the American people.

Key West Reader on August 2, 2011 at 7:48 PM

LOOK!

Up in the sky!

It’s a bird…

It’s a plane…

No, it’s Supercommittee!

Yippee!!!!

Thanks, Supercommittee, for saving our very future! Zowie gee!!!

hillbillyjim on August 2, 2011 at 7:54 PM

I’m 65, on SS, Medicare, Medicaid and Food Stamps, and did my time. These millennials, millennial independents (or whatever) need to stay away from the time wasting polls and get out there looking for a second and/or third job. If they have complaints about how much I’m costing them, then they need to talk to their parents and grandparents during their spare time.

Karmi on August 2, 2011 at 7:56 PM

Sixty percent indicated that in 2012 a candidate’s position on issues and a record in office will be most important when casting their vote, while just 4 percent indicated a candidate’s charisma and likeability is most important.

What about his or her race? Surely that must be as important as track record or experience. Don’t we have a little white guilt left over?

a capella on August 2, 2011 at 7:58 PM

I’m sure Lenin, Stalin, Brezhnev, and Co., would heartily approve. Not to mention Chairman Mao and his cadre of incompetent communistic killers of prosperity.

Yeah, Supercommittee.

Woo Hoo!!!

This has to be the dumbest thing ever that the GOP has been suckered into.

hillbillyjim on August 2, 2011 at 7:59 PM

F*** it. Bring back King George.

hillbillyjim on August 2, 2011 at 8:01 PM

News Flash for Millennial Independents: Welcome to the club. DC has not, repeat NOT, represented conservative interests in my entire lifetime-or before- and I am very, very old.

JimP on August 2, 2011 at 8:02 PM

F*** it. Bring back King George.

hillbillyjim on August 2, 2011 at 8:01 PM

Heh! I have much the same emotion about England.

OldEnglish on August 2, 2011 at 8:05 PM

I’m 65, on SS, Medicare, Medicaid and Food Stamps, and did my time. These millennials, millennial independents (or whatever) need to stay away from the time wasting polls and get out there looking for a second and/or third job. If they have complaints about how much I’m costing them, then they need to talk to their parents and grandparents during their spare time.

Karmi on August 2, 2011 at 7:56 PM

What a worthless human being you are. I would love to know how many children you had in your lifetime. That would pretty much clinch up my whole argument against continued funding for leeches like yourself.

astonerii on August 2, 2011 at 8:08 PM

U

News Flash for Millennial Independents: Welcome to the club. DC has not, repeat NOT, represented conservative interests in my entire lifetime-or before- and I am very, very old.

JimP on August 2, 2011 at 8:02 PM

What DC has done s borrow money in your names, without your permission, and expect you to cover the debt! They don’t much care if you can find a job or not, they will get their pound of flesh one way or another. If you millenials have not already known it, this last sham bill should show you they are working in concert to protect their way of life inside the DC bubble!

bluemarlin on August 2, 2011 at 8:18 PM

Millennial here. I didn’t vote for him last time and I sure as hell fire damnation am not voting for him this time. I would rather rot. The real youth movement is upon us.

RDE2010 on August 2, 2011 at 8:30 PM

What does “aged 18 to 29″ have to do with “millenial”? Wouldn’t “millenials” be 10-11 year olds?
I feel very old, suddenly.

yocheved on August 2, 2011 at 8:33 PM

They simply haven’t lived long enough to know which way is up, and following someone else’s lead is to abrogate their own sense of responsibility.

First, one has to learn to be responsible, then apply it. The voting age should never have dropped below thirty.

OldEnglish on August 2, 2011 at 7:29 PM

I am my own leader, thank you very much. Try not to apply that “youth is wasted on the young” mentality on all of us. I believe it’s called ageism.

RDE2010 on August 2, 2011 at 8:34 PM

“…60 percent of 6,255 respondents opposed raising the debt ceiling at all — and the poll question provided options to raise the debt ceiling with spending cuts, with tax increases and with a combination.”

Froma Harrop, white courtesy telephone please.

drunyan8315 on August 2, 2011 at 8:42 PM

I can’t blame them for voting Obama. All they really knew was Bush, who spent recklessly and allowed the media and left to define his entire Presidency. It’s going to be a disillusioned generation, without loyalty to party and an expectation that things improve fast.

amazingmets on August 2, 2011 at 8:42 PM

I believe it’s called ageism.

RDE2010 on August 2, 2011 at 8:34 PM

Its not ageism, but experience.

Of course this is a generality but young people don’t know what the hell they are doing with their life.

Yes, their are exceptions, but generally most young people are more concerned about day to day life stuff than being an informed voter, etc.

Most people, until they get some years (and experience) behind them, don’t know how the system works or what or why they should be a responsible part of it.

I graduated high school, got married and joined the military all when I was 18. Yes, I’m still married (yes to the same woman, my high school sweetheart) but I can tell you I hadn’t a real clue about how big a jump into life I was taking at that time.

Now I’m older (42), retired from the military and just getting my kids out of the house. I’m wiser, more seasoned and experienced about many things in life.

But we have to go through that crucible to get where we are later in life. Some people never learn (look at older liberals). But most of us are better people as we age because we’ve learned – many times the hard way – and know better about things.

Then we get really old and crotchety like my 87 year old dad.

catmman on August 2, 2011 at 8:48 PM

Trust no one under 35.

rrpjr on August 2, 2011 at 8:49 PM

I have a few family members in their 20′s who voted for Obama (including my sister, poor kid) who voted for Obama and were so proud when he was elected. Why they were proud they never could answer because believe me, I asked… angrily. He was “different”. It was for “change”, you know, they typical brainwashing they were foolish enough to fall for. Albeit too late, they’re not fooled anymore.

Yakko77 on August 2, 2011 at 8:49 PM

RDE2010 on August 2, 2011 at 8:34 PM

Ageism equals the chance of experience/wisdom. There is no such thing as an old head on young shoulders.

Having said that, being one’s own leader is the first step in becoming an adult – even mistakes grant experience. (I’m very experienced :) )

OldEnglish on August 2, 2011 at 8:50 PM

that 59 percent of millennial independents believe the United States is pretty seriously on the “wrong track,” while only 22 percent say the United States is headed in the “right direction.”

No candidate, from any party, is proposing policies that will change millenials views on the “right track/wrong track” question. Our “right track” is not the GOP platform.

ernesto on August 2, 2011 at 8:50 PM

It would be so rich if years of indoctrination by union teachers, all of the Soros funded educational (global warming) initiatives, the messaging of the Hollywood anti-war globalists, mostly ended up as big FAILURE because of one simple thing:

The indoctrinated met reality and their brains turned 180 degrees.

Reality bites but in this case I’m giving it a thumbs up.

Greyledge Gal on August 2, 2011 at 8:54 PM

Albeit too late, they’re not fooled anymore.

Yakko77 on August 2, 2011 at 8:49 PM

I don’t agree, Yacko. Without them having voted in Obama, most of them would never have waked up from their Utopian Unicorn Dream.

It is probably more important that so many have thrown off or at least begun to question the socialist progressive philosophies Obama represents.

Glass half full. :)

Greyledge Gal on August 2, 2011 at 8:57 PM

It would be so rich if years of indoctrination by union teachers, all of the Soros funded educational (global warming) initiatives, the messaging of the Hollywood anti-war globalists, mostly ended up as big FAILURE because of one simple thing:

The indoctrinated met reality and their brains turned 180 degrees.

Reality bites but in this case I’m giving it a thumbs up.

Greyledge Gal on August 2, 2011 at 8:54 PM

Heh, you wish. No, sadly, the 90% of the indoctrination will remain. There is no fast and furious way for people to see the negative effects of their changes to social structure. All that is going to happen is a very short lived fiscal slow down, followed by the ever increasingly socially dysfunctional voters returning to their original problems, such as how to make society even less morally good so they can not just be tolerated as degenerates, but celebrated as being different and non contributing.

How long did it take before we saw all the problems that social security has caused society, and will forever? While completely obvious what those negative effects are and will be, too many still refuse to see them. How long did it take to understand the detrimental effects of no fault divorce? It is obvious the flaws in this societal change today, but do you see any large number people thinking about reigning it in and setting things back to the way they were before? How long did it take to figure out the problems that medicare and medicaid would have on society? How many are talking about putting thing back the way they were before despite these problems? This list goes on and on, and has just now started with the celebration of the cultural lifestyle of death. All the millennials absolutely adore this idea and have embraced it wholeheartedly. Of course there could never be any any problems with letting two same sex partners who cannot have children on their own get married 40 or 50 years from now.

Nope, it is all just a minor blip on the radar screen. Progress will continue unabated in two years.

astonerii on August 2, 2011 at 9:08 PM

I hate my birth year as it pertains to stuff like this.

I’m too old to really be a Y, but too young to be an X.

Vatican Watcher on August 2, 2011 at 10:00 PM

An informal Facebook poll on Generation Opportunity’s Facebook page, Being American, showed that, as of today, 60 percent of 6,255 respondents opposed raising the debt ceiling at all — and the poll question provided options to raise the debt ceiling with spending cuts, with tax increases and with a combination.

“I think millennials have the clear and demonstrated ability to make connections between what is going on in their own life and what the federal government is doing, not only in terms of what it does for their ability to find a job, but also what it does for the country on a world stage,” said Paul Conway, president of Generation Opportunity and former chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Labor under Secretary Elaine Chao. ”For leaders in both parties, it’s a very clear signal that your action or inaction is being watched by the people who elected you and the people who hold you accountable.”

So, what will millennial discontent mean for the 2012 elections? Past polling data shows some of the college-aged crowd won’t be quite as keen to vote for President Barack Obama a second time around. The numbers from Generation Opportunity don’t speak to that

So, let me get this straight, we are to look favorably on the data on an informal “Facebook poll” that supports our side but ignore objective data from the same poll that doesn’t favor our side. Here’s an alternate suggestion, maybe a “Facebook poll” is complete garbage that isn’t worth the memory it occupies?

I’m 25, I agree that most of my friends are disaffected with Obama, but I doubt that many of them would vote Republican. If I had to guess, they’re mostly inclined to sit this election out and adopt a nihilistic view towards the situation. My friends with similar political views are no doubt the most engaged right now, but nonetheless, we’re still outliers amongst a generation which reflexively tilts Democrat. I don’t think there’s much of a chance that my generation will come around to Republicans in 2012 (social issues are a sticking point), but I doubt they’ll be lining up at the polls to vote for Obama this time around.

All of this is anecdotal, but so its probably more reliable than a “Facebook poll” of 6,000 (maybe) Millenials who bothered to answer a poll from an obscure, previously unknown group called “Generation Opportunity.” Personally, I would not answer the poll and suspect it was a scam to obtain personal information.

Lawdawg86 on August 2, 2011 at 10:24 PM

Given the woeful state of education in the US today, this is surprising. At least it shows that they know how to subtract. For those with jobs, they look at the gross pay on their pay stubs and see FICA whacked off the top, then FICM subtracted, then FITW (which they’ll get back most of after provided it as an interest-free loan to Uncle Sam), and finally State Tax withheld (which they may or may not get back partially).

olesparkie on August 3, 2011 at 7:39 AM

There is NOTHING independent whatsoever about those who describe themselves as independents. They have made a conscious choice of NOT choosing sides. I have more respect for the nazi working at the concentration camp who dropped the gas canisters to murder the innocent jews than a person who calls themselves “independent.” At least the nazi murderer chose a side and was willing to act in support of his beliefs for all the world to see. Because I write this doesn’t mean I agree with murdering jews. The nazis were despicable. But, you get my drift. The “independents” think they are above the fray and are superior than those who choose a side because they look at both sides and thus, make a more informed decision. Independents ARE NOT independent, they are INDIFFERENT! A 20th century disease that is gaining strength in the 21st century. And if the indifference to the nazis is not enough for you, just do a search on the Rwanda massacre to see what happens when the President of the United States at the time, Bill “I feel your pain” Clinton was, as far as I am concerned, CRIMINALLY INDIFFERENT to the people of Rwanda and he, along with numerous other heads of state at the time, should be on trial in The Hague for crimes against humanity because of their INDIFFERENCE to the Rwandan tragedy. So, to all you “independents” out there, don’t jump in my fox hole and declare to me that you are an independent and you think your way is better – I just might shoot you.

devolvingtowardsidiocracy on August 3, 2011 at 11:28 AM

devolvingtowardsidiocracy on August 3, 2011 at 11:28 AM

I can agree with your Nazi argument with the following criteria. That they not only took a side, but were willing to live with the consequences of that decision, and that pretty much meant death or at the least, life behind bars, and likely a short life.

Independents really are the scum of the political arena and completely unworthy of subjugating our ideals to woo.

astonerii on August 3, 2011 at 3:08 PM

but they do reveal that millennial voters will think critically before they cast their votes.

This pretty much never happens. And probably never really will in large numbers.
In fact, it is a disgusting shame just how many people DON’T vote who CAN.
THAT is the really disgusting thing about this country.
I know a lot of conservative minded & living people, who don’t vote often, regularly, or ever.

Badger40 on August 3, 2011 at 3:53 PM