Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey

Millennials Say Govt Is Wasteful (66%) and Govt Agencies Abuse their Power (58%)


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

Reason-Rupe's latest study of millennials finds that whilemillennials support government action; however, they also believe government comes with its own problems. They have come to view government as wasteful and inefficient, recognize the potential for regulatory capture and also agency corruption.

66 Percent of Millennials Think Government Is Wasteful

The perception that government is wasteful and inefficient has surged among millennials in the past five years.

In 2009, the Pew Research Center found that only 42 percent of millennials thought government was "usually inefficient and wasteful," compared to six in 10 among Americans over 30. This number hascrept up in recent polls. By 2014, using the exact same wording as the question Pew asked in 2009, we found the share of millennials who agree the government is wasteful and inefficient has shot up to 66 percent, while 32 percent disagree.

Even millennials who favor a broader role for government view it as wasteful. Fully 57 percent of millennial Democrats say government is wasteful, as do 69 percent of independents and 81 percent of Republicans.

63 Percent Say Regulators Favor Special Interests Over the Public

Millennials generally favor government regulation of business to protect the public interest. However, nearly two-thirds (63%) say that when government regulators write and implement regulations, they generally act on behalf of narrow special interests, not the public. Only 18 percent think regulators generally have the public interest in mind when deciding how to regulate businesses, and another 19 percent aren't sure. While liberal and moderate millennials are more trusting of regulators, majorities of liberals (56%) and moderates (59%) still expect special interests to benefit more than the public from regulations. Conservatives (82%) and libertarians (85%) are the most likely to say special interests benefit the most.

58 Percent Say Government Agencies Generally Abuse Their Power

In the aftermath of government contractor Edward Snowden's revelations about the federal government's surveillance programs, the American people have been essentially asked to trust government officials to do what is right. However, Reason-Rupe data reveal that millennials don't believe government agencies generally do the right thing.

The Pew Research Center found that young people were more supportive than older cohorts of Edward Snowden's choice to release classified information about the existence of government surveillance: 60 percent said it served the public interest and 34 percent said it harmed it. Moreover, they were the only age group to disapprove (55%) of the data collection program.

The Reason-Rupe millennial poll finds one driver of support for Edward Snowden is that 58 percent of millennials think "government agencies generally abuse their power" while only 25 percent think they "generally do the right thing."

Concern extends beyond partisanship. Majorities of Democrats (53%), independents (53%), and Republicans (73%) worry government agencies abuse their power. Nevertheless, Democrats (33%) are nearly twice as likely as Republicans (16%) to believe these agencies do the right thing. There are only small differences across race/ethnicity, although African-American millennials (66%) are slightly more likely than their peers (56%) to believe government agencies abuse their power.

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

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  1. Do they think “Government” is wasteful or do they think “this government” is wasteful. It is a pretty important distinction. If they think the latter, they are also likely to think the next group of proclaimed top men will fix it and are unlikely to understand the inherent wastefulness and inefficiency of all governments.

    1. It’s not my congressman who’s the problem, it’s theirs!

      1. My congressman has never managed to win the election, so I’ve been stuck with their congressman for ages.

        1. I can accurately predict the outcome of any election by taking the inverse of my ballot.

  2. Confident prediction:

    Millenials will predominantly vote (again) to increase the size of government and give it more power.

    To me, the interesting thing isn’t what people say, its the gap between what they say and what they do. Every article on polling should be a paragraph on the poll results, and several paragraphs with the theme “It is difficult, however, to reconcile the stated preferences of the poll results with revealed preferences . . . .”

    1. There isn’t a gap because these sorts of polls don’t measure intensity of support for an issue or how people prioritize their issues.

      For example, I can truthfully say I support small government and 2nd Amendment rights. I can also say that given a choice I consider gun rights more important that government spending. So if the choice was between to big spenders, one of whom was anti gun rights and the other reliably pro gun rights, I would vote for the latter. So I have just voted for bigger government even though I don’t support such. Do my actions not match my words? No. I just made a rational choice based on my priorities and the options available.

      The same thing no doubt happens with mellenials. Sure, they would like a small government. But they care about culture war issues like gay marriage and affirmative action more. So they vote for big spending Democrats because they object to Republicans on these issues. This is why the Democrats are such culture warriors. It keeps people from voting on fiscal and economic issues where the Democrats are for the most part in the minority.

      1. Fair analysis, and justification for making “None of the above” a legitimate ballot entry.

        1. If I vote none of the above, the gun control guy might win and then I get nothing. At least voting for the big spending 2nd Amendment guy protects my gun rights.

          1. A lesser of two evils is still evil.

            1. And still lesser.

              1. Would you rather drive off a cliff at 100mph or 50mph?

                1. How tall is the cliff? What sort of lateral distance would I get? Is there a lower landform on the other side of the gorge that I might be able to land on? You didn’t give enough information!

                2. If you just fall in any case, I don’t think either is particularly less of an evil, so not a great analogy. Better might be “would you rather have one or both of your hands cut off?”.

                  1. Sarc isn’t very good at the whole ‘being clever’ thing even though he thinks he is.

          2. The really good option would be the “Not this guy option” where you take 1 vote away from 1 particular candidate. Then you can make sure the big spending gun grabber doesn’t get in, without endorsing the other big spender. It would prevent the “voting against the other guy” issue by actually letting you vote against him.

            Though I’m more likely to get alt-text on all the HnR photos than this system added.

            1. That is a great idea.

      2. Sure, they would like a small government. But they care about culture war issues like gay marriage and affirmative action more.

        Which is exactly why “socially liberal, fiscally conservative” is such a fraud.

        Whenever any decision actually has to be made, its always in favor of “liberal”, and never in favor of “fiscally conservative.”

        Anyone who self-identifies this way is, by their actions, a liberal, full stop.

        1. Yes. At some point, if you are unwilling to compromise on your social views in order to accomplish something towards your fiscal views, your fiscal views are so irrelevant that you really can’t claim to be such anymore.

        2. “socially liberal, fiscally conservative” is such a fraud.

          Seems like an odd thing to say on a libertarian website.

    2. Or to put it another way The majority of the country wants the federal government to get smaller. Yet this never happens. Why? Because the majority of the electorate that wants a smaller government is divided on cultural issues. Neither side of the culture war is willing to put aside its culture was issues and vote with the other side in support of small government.

      This goes a long way to explaining why the Democrats are such aggressive and persistent culture warriors and why the media obsesses over these issues. It keeps their opposition divided.

      1. Everyone wants to cut government, just not the part that benefits them. That’s why you’ll never get specifics out of a politician, because any specifics will result in lost votes. And that’s also why nothing is ever cut.

        1. It is more complex than that. People are willing to cut the programs they like but only if they are assured that other programs will be cut too and the money just won’t be wasted somewhere else. Since no one trusts government or politicians, no one believes it when politicians say “we are cutting your program to fix the deficit”. They rightfully see through that and hear it as “we are cutting your program to give the money to someone else”. And that is a perfectly rational and self interested position to take.

          You could get people to agree to a smaller government but you would have to do it in a way that people understand that it is really happening and you are not just replacing one group of crooks with another.

          The other thing is, the actual cost of paying for one program is spread out so much that even though most people want to kill it, there are not enough people who are effected enough by it to vote on the issue to outweigh the people who benefit from the program who have every reason to vote just on that issue.

          1. Show me a supposed fiscal conservative, and I’ll show you someone who absolutely opposes any cuts to the military or to SS or Medicaid. But they want to cut government to the bone.

            1. People are willing to sign up in the military and die fighting for the country and do so by the millions if there ever was a need. People would give up their bennies, if they believed it would do any good.

              I really wonder sometimes why you don’t believe in bigger government. If I had the same opinion of humanity you do, I would absolutely want them controlled and not want to give them any freedom. I believe in freedom because I think people over time and in the aggregate will do the right thing and figure things out, albeit in a drawn out and messy way.

              1. People would give up their bennies, if they believed it would do any good.

                I don’t think so. People want other people to give up their bennies. You know, the people who don’t deserve them. But the people who want to cut government have earned their bennies. They’re not going to give them up willingly. And they’ve all got friends and family in the military. They don’t want to cut the military. But damn straight they want to cut government to the bone. Just not any part that would affect themselves or their family.

                I really wonder sometimes why you don’t believe in bigger government.

                Sometimes I wonder if you are a functional retard.

                If I had the same opinion of humanity you do, I would absolutely want them controlled and not want to give them any freedom.

                But who does the controlling? That’s the question. Yeah, I have a pretty low opinion of humanity. Which is exactly why I don’t want people to be controlled, because I don’t trust anyone enough to do the controlling.

                I believe in liberty – that people should be free from coercion as long as they don’t interfere with the life, liberty or property of anyone else.

      2. I hold my nose and vote Republican all the time — but it took me a while, and I can’t for the life of me convince my white female friends to even glance at the young, openly gay pro-choice Republican who’s currently running for Congress in our district. “I’m a died-in-the-wool Democrat” e-mailed one. Truer misspelling was never spoken.

        1. I voted for McCain, and I felt dirty afterwards. Since then I haven’t been able to bring myself to vote for either of the majors, with the exception of our fine governor LePage.

          1. I didn’t know Maine had a GOP governor I thought that was a blue state. Further, I though NE Republicans had to suck.

            1. He got in because an independent spoiler drew off a good part of the D vote.

            2. I laugh at the butt-hurts who drive around with their 61% bumper stickers.

              1. Has this ‘Governor LePage’ done good?

  3. This is all well and good, I suppose.

    But how do Millennials answer the question: “What do you propose to do about it?”?

    1. What do you propose to do about it?

      My first thought was Damnatio Exterminatus, but then I remembered that I’m stuck on this planet too.

    2. Rich|7.10.14 @ 12:38PM|#
      “This is all well and good, I suppose.
      But how do Millennials answer the question: “What do you propose to do about it?”?”

      They’ll vote D because rethugs!

  4. Ugh four articles do demonstrate that Millenials are just like the rest of America but a bit shallower, much less employable and a lot more screwed. On the bright side, I find some of cohort are a little more open-minded than I thought they would be. It looks worse than it does because the most obnoxious and narcissistic ‘GOTTA POST IT ON THE FACEBOOK’ part of my generation is the most proggie part of it. There is a no-kidding 1:1 correlation right there.

  5. The optical illusion that makes your screen MELT: Shape-shifting video lets you hallucinate without touching drugs

    DO NOT watch if you suffer from epilepsy or are sensitive to flashing lights
    Watch video in full screen mode for over a minute while focusing on the letters at the centre of the swirling lines, reciting them out loud
    Look away and watch the world deform. Effect can last for up to 20 secs
    Illusion created when brain cells detecting motion become tired
    After the eyes look away, the cells that detect motion in the other direction are more active and a stationary object appears to be moving…..drugs.html
    It’s like trippin, yo!

    1. Nice. Thanks, pal.

    2. I like that dancing dog one that goes to the tune of “You Are A Idiot.” My only objection is that it doesn’t launch fast enough to stun viewers before they can get away.

    3. This seems…pointless.

  6. These kids are not quite so brainwashed as I had expected them to be.

    Maybe there is hope for the Republic yet!

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