Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey

10 Fun Facts About the Millennial Generation


Reason-Rupe has a new survey and report out on millennials—find it here. Here are a few highlights:

(1) Millennials prefer smaller government, if larger government requires high taxes. When tax rates are not explicit, 54 percent of millennials favor "larger government providing more services" and 43 percent prefer "smaller government providing fewer services." But once tax rates are mentioned, support flips. Instead, 57 percent favor "smaller government, providing fewer services, with low taxes" and 41 percent want "larger government, providing more services, with high taxes."

At first, Caucasian millennials are nearly 20 points more likely than non-white millennials to favor small government. But once taxes are mentioned the race/ethnicity gap disappears among Caucasian, Latino, and Asian millennials and 6 in 10 prefer small government.

(2) Millennials are cautious of government power. 58 percent of millennials worry government agencies abuse their power. 63 percent believe government regulators favor special interests over the public when they write and enforce regulations. 66 percent say government is usually inefficient and wasteful, up from 42 percent in 2009.

(3) Millennials still want government to care for the disadvantaged. 58 percent of millennials think government should spend more on financial assistance to the poor, even if higher taxes are required. Roughly 7 in 10 also favor government guarantees for housing, food, and health insurance, and 54 percent favor guarantees for college to the least advantaged.  However, their support for social spending steadily declines as their incomes rise.

(4) Millennials strongly prefer free markets over a government-managed economy. When asked to choose the better system, 64 percent of millennials choose the free market over an economy managed by the government (32 percent). A majority (52 percent) also favors capitalism over socialism (42 percent). Interestingly, millennials appear to be more favorable to socialism than a government managed economy even though the former requires more government intervention. This indicates millennials may not know what the word "socialism" means. 

(5) Millennials don't like to be nannied.Across a number of substances and activities governments have banned or sought to ban, millennials favor individual freedom. For instance, majorities support legalizing marijuana (57 percent) and online gambling (58 percent), buying traditional incandescent light bulbs (64 percent), selling large sugary drinks in restaurants (72 percent), and eating trans fats (62 percent).

Moreover, 67 percent think government ought to allow same-sex couples to get married. In fact, even 54 percent of Republican millennials support legalizing same-sex marriage.

(6) Millennials are entrepreneurial and like business. 55 percent of millennials say they'd like to start their own business one day and that hard work is the key to success (61 percent). Millennials also have a positive view of the profit motive (64 percent) and competition (70 percent).

(7) Millennials favor meritocracy over egalitarianism. When asked to choose, 57 percent of millennials would rather live in a society where wealth is distributed according to individual achievement rather than a society where the income gap is small (40 percent). Their preferences for meritocracy or egalitarianism are tied to their attitudes toward large or small government, redistribution, capitalism and socialism.

(8) Millennials are social liberals and fiscal centrists. Millennials distinguish between liberal positions on economics  and social issues, flouting traditional political allegiances. 62 percent identify as socially liberal while 49 percent say they are fiscally liberal.

A socially liberal, fiscally conservative political candidate could succeed with millennials. 53 percent say they would support a candidate who was both socially liberal and fiscally conservative. In fact, liberal millennials (60 percent) are significantly more supportive of such a candidate than conservatives (43 percent). Social issues, more than economics, tend to define their political labels and shape their political judgments.

(9) To stimulate the economy, millennials want action. In efforts to stimulate the economy, millennials simultaneously support policies that expand government and policies that limit it. Two-thirds favor raising taxes on the wealthy and reducing government spending by 5 percent. But 6 in 10 also favor increasing government spending for job training programs and infrastructure projects, as well as cutting taxes. Millennials think somebody should do something to help improve the economy, but have less of an ideological preference as to how.

(10) Millennials are the most racially diverse generation. Only 56 percent of millennials are white, compared to 73 percent of baby boomers (46 to 64 year olds). Millennials are almost twice as likely to be Hispanic as older Americans (19 percent vs. 10 percent), and more likely to identify as African American (15 percent vs. 11 percent) and Asian (6 percent vs. 4 percent).

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To learn more about millennials, check out Reason-Rupe's new report.

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  1. Three millenial bits before noon. Will there be a fourth?

    1. My game knee is twitching. There be a millenial storm brewing. Get in the storm cellar, maw.

  2. I thought Reason was finally cured of this, but here it is again:

    “Moreover, 67 percent think government ought to allow same-sex couples to get married. In fact, even 54 percent of Republican millennials support legalizing same-sex marriage.”

    No, the question isn’t about allowing or legalizing same-sex marriage, but about having the government *recognize* it and requiring the rest of the country to recognize it too.

    And did they define the term “social liberal”? Because all those people with the #NotMyBoss’sBusiness signs probably qualify as social liberals in the sense of “opposite of social conservatives.”

    1. Yeah, everyone I’ve overheard complaining in person about Hobby Lobby has been a millenial.

    2. …but about having the government *recognize* it and requiring the rest of the country to recognize it too.

      Forget it, Note. It’s Reasontown.

  3. “fiscal centrists” = “I want government to pay for pretty much anything you can name until it starts to affect my bank account”

  4. Do Millennials actually vote? Those that do will vote for whichever candidate journalists like Jon Stewart tell them is cool.

    1. “journalist”

    2. Most of the ones I know do not vote. The ones that do vote tend to be conservative/libertarian.

      /anecdotal evidence

    3. I have voted, though I didn’t in 2012. I tried, but there was a 2 hour line at the polls in my ward. Fuck that.

      1. You had to get home to ironically play Gameboy.

        1. With my old Light Boy attachment too, but with a non-magnifying lens for extra legitimacy.

          1. How are you going to attach the Game Genie then?

  5. Millennials strongly prefer free markets over a government-managed economy.

    Public schools did not even establish that piece of propaganda in Millennials minds? Wow public schools really are good for nothing.

    1. Slightly change the wording of the question and the propaganda achievements of the public school becomes more obvious.

  6. (3) Millennials still want government to care for the disadvantaged.

    My definition of disadvantaged is “Physically incapable of performing any kind of useful task for which they can be renumerated.”

    1. Thanks to technology, this is a vanishing distinction. I mean, if Stephen Hawking can manage, you’d basically have to be brain dead to qualify. He could always fall back to telemarketing if the physics gig falls through.

      1. This is what I see when I think of Hawking as a telemarketer:

        “Can… I… Interest… you… In a… Subscription… to”

        “Damn Robocalls *click*”

  7. “Hold. Up. You mean I gotta pay for the shit I want? WHAT PART OF ‘FREE SHIT’ DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?!”


  8. How long til John comes pulling “Millenial” facts out of his ass?

    1. I’ll start.

      1) Millenials are mammals

      1. Most Millennials have teeth.

        1. Roughly half of them have vaginas.

      2. No reptiles or birds etc born after 1980?

  9. (4) Millennials strongly prefer free markets over a government-managed economy.

    (9) To stimulate the economy, millennials want action.

    Dear Millenials, GYST.

    1. (11) Millennials don’t understand economics or the natural definition of many important political terms, but mother do other age groups, so we’re still fucked.

      1. Should be neither do other age groups. I would trade my best monocle for an edit button.

        1. How many millennials would agree with the proposition that there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch?

          1. Just mandate that your employer covers it!

      2. “A Freudian slip is when you say one thing but mean a mother.”

        1. #WINNING

        2. “Tell me about your mother…”

          “She finger banged me.”

          “You weren’t molested by your parents, you have a deviant attraction to your parents.”—– Freud’s basic theorem about children and parents, is predicated on the assumption that the vast majority of mental illness isn’t a result of shitty parenting.

    2. Repealing thousands of pages of laws and regulations at a time would be action.

  10. These facts weren’t at all fun.

  11. 66 percent say government is usually inefficient and wasteful, up from 42 percent in 2009.

    My sincere thanks, Barry.

    This indicates millennials may not know what the word “socialism” means.

    No shit. The people who think of themselves as ‘socialist’ often do so because they think they’re standing up to “the man” and “fighting the power”, even though socialism necessarily requires a powerful elite with a supposed right to the lives and production of everyone they lord over. We’ll add that to the list of internal contradictions.

  12. Thanks for the poll, but I’ll wait to see the millennial’s revealed preferences.

  13. They can be a great people, Kal-El Rand, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you.

  14. BTW, EE, nice job job keeping it all on one page (unlike some leather encased editors we won’t mention).

  15. 11) Millennials demand alt-text.

  16. This is why poll reporting is so dumb, and easily the shittiest content on Reason. 57% = ALL OF THIS GROUP THINKS THIS WAY, ISN’T THAT INTERESTING??

    No, no it’s not. You have a slight majority of people who respond to polls – already an outlier group – check a box they likely don’t understand, given the utter lack of political knowledge the population at large possesses.

    Anecdotally, my peers tend to “think” whatever John Stewart said, if they have interest beyond the Kardashians to begin with.

  17. given the utter lack of political knowledge the population at large possesses.

    Political knowledge is just a practical thing, information that helps people navigate around the injustices of the political system. It’s the utter lack of philosophical knowledge that leads people to electorally support the theft, murder and enslavement of their neighbors.

  18. These polls are meaningless because they don’t measure the intensity of people’s commitment to an idea or how they prioritize them. For example, this generation may say they are social liberals and fiscal conservatives but that says nothing about what issues they actually vote on. If they are willing to vote for a big spending politician over a fiscally conservative one because the former is socially liberal, their commitment to fiscal conservationism doesn’t really mean very much.

    And whenever a poll uses buzzwords like “social liberal” its value is limited at best. Social liberal means something different to different people. Ten people could all tell you they consider themselves social liberals and they could still disagree on individual issues.

    1. Social liberal means gay marriage. Duh.

    2. Voters are just so damned qualified to dictate the terms of everyone’s life, liberty and property rights.

  19. My takeaway?

    The millennials are completely typical of recent generations, and probably of people throughout time. That is to say, short-sighted and unprincipled. With the institutional protections against the Total State failing, we have all the machinery of the Total State in the hands of short-sighted and unprincipled people.

  20. reminds me of the dumbest woman in Austin who voted for several bond referendums and then was outraged when her property taxes increased.

    1. I vote against every bond as a matter of principle, and they all pass. They pass because they come with promised matching federal funds. The rest comes out of taxes, but people seem to forget that part.

  21. Just for shits and giggles they should include the poll results showing that Israelis and Palestinians just want to get along, and that North Koreans enjoy 100% satisfaction with their quality of life.

  22. Revealed preferences matter much, much more than stated (polling) preferences.

    And the Millenials have been a solid Dem voting bloc:

    Young people were evenly divided in their preferences for House candidates until 2004, when they started to prefer Democrats for the House of Representatives. By 2008, there was a 27-point gap between their support for Democratic and Republican candidates. This gap shrank to 17-points in 2010 but increased to 21 points in 2012.…

    They put Obama back in the White House:

    Obama easily won the youth vote nationally, 67 percent to 30 percent, with young voters proving the decisive difference in Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio, according to an analysis by the Center for Research and Information on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University. Obama won at least 61 percent of the youth vote in four of those states, and if Romney had achieved a 50-50 split, he could have flipped those states to his column, the study said.…..z3753oCzWJ

    Its hard for me to say anything other than the Millenials tend to be good foot soldiers in the Free Shit Army.

  23. If you have to ask such obviously loaded questions then you know you’ve lost, right?


  24. Millennials (18-29) Baby Boomers (46-64)

    First of all, what kind of damn sense does it make that Boomers are a nearly 20 year generation but Millennials are only a 10 year generation?

    Second: Fuck you I am not Gen X.

    Third: Collectivizing groups by age is silly (my rant included).

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