The Kids Are All Left


Today's non-surprise surprise: Kids are liberal! From the Pew Research Center's survey of 18-to-25 year olds:

More than two-thirds (67%) believe immigrants strengthen American society; a quarter favor increasing legal immigration.

Just 47% of those ages 41 to 60 say immigrants strengthen society; among those 26 and older, 16% say immigration should increase.

While young people are split over gay marriage (47% in favor, 46% opposed), those over 25 are not: 64% oppose same-sex marriage; 30% favor it.

"This is a more tolerant generation than its predecessors," says Scott Keeter of Pew Research Center, which surveyed 579 young adults and 922 adults 26 and older.

Once in a while, conservatives kick around the non-theory theory* that legal abortion snuffs out potential liberal voters, leaving conservatives to, as Newt Gingrich would put it, Win the Future. This, apparently, is not happening. Young voters do get more economically conservative as they start paying for things, a process expedited in areas where housing is cheap and delayed in areas (like cities) where it isn't. But do they get more anti-immigrant? Do they get more anti-gay? Probably not, which means these trends will be extremely difficult to reverse.

Pew also provides the essential "young people used to, like, care about things" data:

The findings that this generation's top life goals are to be rich (81%) and famous (51%) contrast with a 1967 study of college freshmen in which 85.8% said it was essential to develop "a meaningful philosophy of life," while 41.9% thought it essential to be "very well off financially."

I'm not old, but I'm old enough to remember the hand-wringing of the early 90s over whether the next American generation would be the worst first to end up with less than its parents. We're supposed to grouse now that this isn't happening?

*I will cease using this trite formulation.