America’s youngest generation is growing up with political views similar to those of the millennials who precede them, according to a new poll, which found Generation Z to be diverse, left-leaning and largely hostile toward President Donald Trump.
The Republican Party “now has a TWO generation problem,” GOP pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson wrote on Twitter. “I am often asked if the pendulum will swing back and if Gen Z might actually be more right-leaning than the Obama-era Millennials. Current verdict: no.”
That data comes via a new report from Pew Research, which defines millennials as those born from 1981 to 1996 and Generation Z as those born after that. Under those definitions, the 2020 election will see a crop of Gen Z voters ages 18 to 23.
So far, according to Pew, today’s teenagers and youngest adults look pretty similar to the millennials now in their mid-20s to 30s ― and notably distinct from older generations. Just 30 percent of Gen Zers ages 13 to 21 and a nearly identical 29 percent of millennials surveyed said they approve of Trump’s job performance. About 60 percent of both groups said they agree that increasing racial and ethnic diversity is good for society.
Members of Gen Z stand out for their support for more government: 70 percent of those polled said the government should do more to solve problems, compared with 64 percent of millennials and 53 percent or fewer of older Americans.
Young Republicans look especially different from older members of their party. About half of Gen Z Republicans surveyed said they believe the government should be doing more, while just 38 percent of millennial Republicans and a third or fewer of older GOP generations agreed. Forty-three percent of Gen Z Republicans said that black Americans are treated less fairly than whites; only 30 percent of millennial Republicans and fewer than a quarter of older Republicans said the same.
Demography, of course, isn’t necessarily destiny. The GOP also faced prematurely dire claims about the party’s future after the 2012 presidential election. Young Americans’ opinions will have an effect on politics only to the extent they turn out to vote.
There’s also time for opinions to shift.
“It’s too early to say with certainty how the views of this new generation will evolve,” the report’s authors note. “Most have yet to reach voting age, and their outlook could be altered considerably by changing national conditions, world events or technological innovations.”
Pew surveyed 10,682 adults aged 18 or older from Sept 24. to Oct. 7, 2018, using the online American Trends Panel. It surveyed people ages 13 to 17 from Sept. 17 to Nov. 25, 2018, using NORC’s AmeriSpeak panel. Read more about the methodology here.