One year ago, President Biden took office with Democratic control of the House and Senate because young people turned out across the country to deliver their victories in 2020. But right now, it is clear that young people believe the Biden Administration and both parties in Congress are failing them.
Our sister organization, Alliance for Youth Organizing, in collaboration with Civiqs, surveyed young voters ages 17 – 39 nationwide from across the political spectrum. We asked how they feel about the country’s future, what policies the Biden Administration should prioritize, how they plan to engage this year leading up to the midterm elections, and more.
This poll should ring the alarm for political leaders in Washington to focus on the policy priorities that young people care about well ahead of November.
Political leaders need to make a major course correction to court young voters this fall
When asked about the future of the United States, sixty-six percent of young voters said they feel pessimistic. Gen-Zers were the most cynical of the group. When asked about national politicians, most young people said they have a negative view of politicians in DC and Congress as a whole. In fact, no national politicians or parties in Congress are viewed positively by most young people in America. The majority of young people – fifty-six percent – say they are frustrated with politicians in Washington, D.C. However, young voters feel more positive about their local governments, highlighting the importance of year-round local organizing to civically engage more young people.
Young people are clear about their policy demands
Nearly half of young people, including twenty-one percent of Democrats, do not believe the Biden Administration is working on policies that positively impact their lives. Instead, more than seventy percent of young people believe politicians prioritize the interests of wealthy Americans, a view shared by Democrats, Independents, and even Republicans. Young voters want to see elected leaders in Washington prioritize increasing taxes on the rich, transitioning to clean energy, Medicare for All, stronger voting rights protections, and canceling student debt.
Young voters will be a critical electoral force this November
Despite negative views on national politicians, interest in voting in the midterms is still high amongst young people – eighty-nine percent say they intend to vote this year. They also indicated that supporting more young people to run for office is the best way to get politicians to work on policies that benefit young people.
Young people are sending a clear message to our elected leaders – you’re failing us. Just last week, the Senate failed to pass crucial voting rights legislation and President Biden has yet to deliver on his promises like student loan debt forgiveness. But youth organizers in the Alliance Network will not stop combating voter suppression in their states, fighting for Black, Brown, Indigenous, and youth of color to have access to the ballot box, and mobilizing Gen-Zers and Millennials to stand by their demands.
Now, it is time for our elected officials in Washington to have the same energy and commitment as youth organizers on the ground.