While the Republican candidates for president have loudly lamented the steep decline of America, new research by a GOP pollster suggests young people are far more optimistic about the country’s future.
“They’re refreshingly, resoundingly sunny about America’s future,” Frank Luntz writes. “This generation simply rejects the gloom and doom, even as their parents and grandparents fret that America is in decline.”
The right-wing political consultant recently completed a national survey of 1,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 26. He found that 88 percent of respondents are at least “somewhat optimistic” about their future, while 54 percent reported being “extremely optimistic” or “very optimistic” about their tomorrows.
While leading presidential candidate and businessman Donald Trump frequently talks about making America great again, 61 percent of the young people in the survey believe the nation’s best days are still ahead. Just 39 percent felt our “best days are behind us”.
However, this youthful optimism does not extend to politicians and corporate America. Sixty-six percent of young people believe corporations embody “everything that is wrong about America”. Elected officials fare only slightly better; the survey found 60 percent of young people felt Washington embodies everything that is “wrong about America”.
In fact, when presented with 16 pressing issues facing the country, the younger Americans said they were most worried about the widening gap between the rich and the poor. The high cost of a college education was the second most pressing issue.
All of this is a cause for alarm, according to Luntz, who writes, “The hostility of young Americans to the underpinnings of the American economy and the American government ought to frighten every business and political leader.”
What might also frighten conservatives is who young people admire most when asked about political figures. Democrats Bernie Sanders (31 percent), President Barack Obama (18 percent) and Hillary Clinton (11 percent) top the list. Republicans lag behind with Donald Trump (9 percent), Ted Cruz (5 percent) and Marco Rubio (3 percent). President Obama is the person that first- and second-time voters would most like to have dinner with.
Forty-four percent of the 18-to-26 year olds interviewed considered themselves Democrats, compare to 15 percent who identified as Republicans. The remaining 42 percent of young voters consider themselves to be independents.