Millennials Don't Like to be Nannied, Want to Lower the Legal Drinking Age


Reason-Rupe has a new survey and report out on millennials—find the report here.

Millennials don't like to be nannied, opting for personal choice over regulation across a number of activities and products governments have banned or have sought to ban.

Fifty-seven percent favor legalizing marijuana, while 40 percent oppose.

Six in 10 millennials favor legalizing online gambling (58%) and allowing people to use e-cigarettes in public places (60%), view adult pornography online (61%), and eat trans fats (62%).

Two-thirds also think people should be allowed to buy traditional incandescent light bulbs (64%) and wear Google Glass in public (66%).

While plastic bag bans continue to spring up across America's cities, 66 percent of millennials say grocery stores should be allowed to offer plastic bags at check-out if they so choose.

Despite New York City's effort to ban the sale of large sugary drinks in restaurants and theaters, three-fourths of millennials say people should be allowed to buy them.

Fully 81 percent say selling food from food trucks should be allowed.

Millennials Want To Lower the Drinking Age

A majority (52 percent) of millennials (and not just college students) also think it's time to lower the legal drinking age. In fact a quarter think we should simply eliminate a legal drinking age altogether. These results are not significantly different comparing those under 21 (51%) to those over 21 (53%). Forty-six percent oppose lowering the legal drinking age.

Perhaps one reason a majority supports lowering the drinking age is that 54 percent think policies intended to reduce underage drinking are ineffective. Another 22 percent so far to say these policies "create more problems than they solve." A quarter think the drinking age laws and policies are effective.

Support for lowering the legal drinking age increases with education. A majority (53%) of those with high school degrees or less don't think we should lower the legal drinking age, compared to 61 percent of college graduates who think we should.

Surprisingly, Republicans and conservatives diverge on the drinking age. Conservatives are the only political group that opposes lowering the drinking age (58% oppose, 41% favor), while Republicans are the most likely to favor doing so (39% oppose, 61% favor).  In fact, Republicans are even more supportive than Democrats (49%) and independents (49%).

Millennials grew up in the midst of fast-paced technological change in which they have become accustomed to choice, change, and personalization. This environment may very well have impacted their beliefs individual autonomy and self-direction. Indeed, 53 percent say individuals "should be allowed to do dangerous and self-destructive things, as long as they don't put others as risk, " while 43 percent disagree.

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