Tonight, the third and final Presidential Debate takes place with barely more than two weeks left to go to the presidential election on November 6th. As President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney prepare to debate foreign policy and related national security issues, young Americans will be listening intently to the details and then sharing their observations in the days to come. Thus, Generation Opportunity released new polling data on what young Americans think are important issues impacting America’s future security and relations around the globe.
It should come as no surprise that the generation that has already contributed so much to this country has strong concerns. Young Americans are not confident in the United States’ ability to maintain its role as a global leader in the future if it continues on the same path as the last several years. They believe certain policies advocated in Washington, D.C. have weakened our national security, especially policies that increase the national debt, decrease American energy production, expand our reliance on foreign energy sources, and escalate our indebtedness to foreign powers. They view China as both an economic and military threat to the United States, and they closely watch China’s economic policies, military buildup, space exploration, and restrictions on Internet and speech freedoms.
Young Americans refuse to settle for an American future defined by a diminished role on the world stage, chronic joblessness, and increased national debt. They believe President Obama should lower taxes and regulations on American businesses so that they compete effectively and to avoid American jobs from going overseas to countries like China. They overwhelmingly agree that current policies are taking us backward, not forward, and plan to make their voices heard in the upcoming presidential election.
The next time anyone tells you that Millennials are not concerned about the world around them – tell them to think again.
Paul T. Conway and the Generation Opportunity Team
YOUNG AMERICANS ON AMERICAN GLOBAL LEADERSHIP AND CURRENT DIRECTION
- 55% of young Americans are not confident that America will still be a global leader in five years if the USA continues along the same path as the last few years.
- Only 36% of young Americans agree with the statement “generally speaking, things in the United States are heading in the right direction.”
YOUNG AMERICANS ON TOP AMERICAN NATIONAL SECURITY AND ENERGY ISSUES
- When asked to rank the greatest threats to the national security of the United States, young Americans listed the following reasons: (Randomized List) (Accepted Multiple Responses)
- 59% – The national debt;
- 46% – Energy dependence;
- 43% – Indebtedness to foreign nations;
- 40% – Terrorism;
- 33% – Nuclear capable nations like Iran;
- 3% – Other;
- 7% – Do not know/cannot judge (accepted only this response).
- 62% of young Americans would increase production of domestic American energy sources like oil, natural gas, and coal if given the opportunity to set America’s fiscal priorities.
YOUNG AMERICANS ON CHINA AS A COMPETITOR AND THREAT
- 71% of young Americans are concerned that so many American jobs are going to foreign competitors like China.
- 72% of young Americans agree that with more and more companies leaving the USA in favor of locating their business in places like China and even Canada, President Obama should lower the taxes on American businesses to restore and expand jobs in America.
- When asked why they thought American jobs are going to foreign competitors like China, young Americans indicated the following reasons: (Randomized List) (Accepted Multiple Responses)
- 69% – Cheaper wages overseas;
- 41% – High taxes on businesses in the U.S.;
- 30% – Too much regulation on businesses in the U.S.;
- 28% – Lack of opportunities to start and grow businesses in the U.S.;
- 2% – I do not think U.S. jobs are going overseas;
- 6% – Do not know/cannot judge (accepted only this response).
- 76% of Millennials view China as a danger: 48% as an economic threat and 28% as both an economic and military threat.***
For Generation Opportunity, the polling company, inc./WomanTrend conducted a nationwide online survey of 1,003 American adults ages 18-29 between July 27 and July 31, 2012. Randomly selected online opt-in panel participants were sent an invitation to the survey via email which included a secure link to the online questionnaire. Quotas were used to ensure the survey was representative of the larger 18-29 year old nationwide population with regard to race, region, and gender. The data were NOT weighted. The overall sampling margin of error for the survey is ±3.1% at a 95% confidence interval, meaning that the data obtained would not differ more than 3.1 percentage points in 95 out of 100 similar samples obtained.
***The specific data point, “76% of Millennials view China as a danger: 48% as an economic threat and 28% as both an economic and military threat,” is from our 2011 survey (the polling company, inc./WomanTrend, April 16 – 22, 2011, +/- 4 percent margin of error).