FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 26th, 2022
WASHINGTON—Today, the Alliance for Youth Organizing – the sister organization of the Alliance for Youth Action – in collaboration with Civiqs, released the full results of their national youth survey. After one full year of the governing trifecta of Democrats – command of the White House and both chambers of Congress – this survey takes a look at how young voters from across the political spectrum feel about the future of the country, what policies the Biden Administration should prioritize, how they plan to civically engage this year leading up to the midterm elections, and more. Increasingly influential with each passing election, youth voters will be a decisive electoral force this November.
“As the 2022 midterm elections approach, this poll rings the alarm for political leaders in Washington, DC to focus on the policy priorities that young people care about well ahead of November,” said Alliance for Youth Organizing Executive Director Dakota Hall. “Gen-Z and Millennial voters want to see political leaders in Washington increase taxes on corporations and the wealthy, implement fair redistricting processes, stop voter suppression, forgive federal student loans, and take action on global climate change. Political leaders must engage and win the trust of Gen-Z and Millennial voters – particularly youth of color – because young people are crucial to the path to victory for any candidate running this year.”
“The survey results are clear: young people in America are deeply dissatisfied with leaders in Washington, DC, from both parties,” said Civiqs Director Drew Linzer. “They are frustrated and angry that their priorities are not being addressed. Leaders must do more to show that they are working on policies that positively impact the lives of young people in America today.”
The survey of registered voters age 17-39 was conducted between January 2-6, 2022, and produced seven major interesting findings:
1. The majority of all young voters feel pessimistic about the future of the country and have a negative view of national political figures and Congress as a whole
- 66% of all youth voters feel pessimistic about the future of the U.S.
- 62% of Democratic youth voters feel pessimistic about the future of the U.S.
- 63% of Republican youth voters feel pessimistic about the future of the U.S.
- 70% of Independent youth voters feel pessimistic about the future of the U.S.
- Gen-Zers are the most pessimistic age group: Among those aged 17-25, 69% are pessimistic about the future of the U.S.
- 56% of young people say they are frustrated with politicians in Washington, D.C.37% of young people describe themselves as angry.
- Democrats are more likely to feel frustrated with Washington (73%), and Republicans are more likely to feel angry (53%).
- Young people feel much more positively towards their state and local governments. While 37% of young people say they are frustrated with their state and local governments, and 25% are angry, there are also 24% who say they are satisfied and 3% who are excited.
2. No national politicians or parties in the U.S. Congress are viewed positively by most young people in America.
- 36% of youth voters hold a favorable view of President Biden, with only 11% saying they have a very favorable opinion of him.
- 33% of youth voters hold a favorable view of Vice President Harris.
- Over half of young people (55%) have an unfavorable opinion of Democrats in Congress. An even larger percentage of young people (69%) have an unfavorable opinion of Republicans in Congress.
- Young people of color have a more favorable opinion of Democrats in Congress than white young people. Black young people have a net positive view (43% favorable, 42% unfavorable), whereas white young people are much more negative (33% favorable, 59% unfavorable).
- A majority (54%) say that their opinion of Democrats in Congress has gotten worse, including 32% of Democrats. Only 6% say that their opinion of Democrats in Congress has improved.
3. Young people perceive that political leaders are not prioritizing their interests
- Nearly half (48%) of young people – including 21% of Democrats and 59% of Independents – do not believe that the Biden Administration is working on policies that positively impact their lives.
- Only 5% of young people think that political leaders care the most about young people and students.
- Politicians are seen as prioritizing the interests of wealthy Americans over the middle class and poor. An overwhelming 75% of young people believe that political leaders care the most about wealthy people; a view shared by 85% of Democrats, 76% of Independents, and even 52% of Republicans.
4. Youth voters are sticking to their demands on policy priorities
- 30% of youth voters support increasing taxes on corporations and the wealthy
- 25% of youth voters support a transition to 100% clean and renewable energy
- 23% of youth voters support replacing private insurance with Medicare for All
- 21% of youth voters support restoring protections against racial voter discrimination
- 20% support canceling student loan debt
5. Majority of young people approve of Biden Administration’s decision to extend the pause on student loan payments and support student loan debt forgiveness
- 64% of young people, approve of the Biden Administration’s decision to extend the pause on student loan payments until May 1st.
- There is broad-based support for this decision among those aged 17-25 (66%) as well as within the 26-32 age group (61%), and the 33-39 age group (63%).
- More than one in three young people (35%) – and fully 50% of Democrats – want the Biden administration to cancel all student loan debt immediately.
- Another 27% of young people support loan forgiveness of up to $50,000 (18%) or up to $10,000 (9%). About a third of young people (31%) oppose any action on canceling student loan debt
6. Young people are concerned about fair elections and the state of democracy in America
- Nearly half (47%) say that ending partisan gerrymandering and implementing fair redistricting processes is one of the two most important issues for elected officials to address around voting and elections today.
- Another 39% want officials to take action to stop voter suppression and protect voters from racial discrimination.
- Over half of young people (53%) believe that Congress should be doing more to investigate and hold people accountable for the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol building. Just 11% are content that Congress is doing the right amount now. Young Black people are the single strongest group in support of Congress doing more to investigate the Capitol building attack, with 69% wanting more action.
7. Youth voters see clear opportunity to improve their lives by electing more young people to office and plan to engage in multiple civic activities this year
- 32% of youth voters believe more young people running for elected office is the best way to get politicians to benefit young people
- 22% of youth voters believe increasing youth voter turnout is the best way to get politicians to benefit young people
- Only 8% of youth voters currently believe that politicians already do enough for young people
- Despite their poor opinion of national political figures, interest among young people in voting in the November 2022 elections is high. Vast majority say they currently intend to vote (89%), donate to a campaign or non-profit organization (40%), or volunteer (22%) or contact voters (16%) for a campaign or nonprofit organization.
Civiqs interviewed 1,936 Americans aged 17-39 from January 2-6, 2022. The survey was conducted online, among selected members of the Civiqs research panel. Sampled individuals were emailed by Civiqs and responded using a personalized link to the survey at civiqs.com. The survey results are weighted by age, gender, race, education, and party identification to be representative of the population of Americans aged 17-39. Respondents include an oversample of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) to increase the precision of survey results for that subgroup. The general design effect due to weighting is 1.28. The survey has a margin of error of ±2.5% at the 95% confidence level, accounting for the design effect. All survey results in this report are reported as percentages. More information about Civiqs can be found online at civiqs.com/methodology.