About Those Millennials

Oh those Millennials! We older folks wring our hands, ascribing to the younger generation all of the bad habits that our own parents ascribed to ours. One of the more popular accusations is that they don’t vote, and aren’t civically involved.

But what do we really know about the voting habits of this particular generation? A recent survey shines some light; from it we learn that 30% typically vote in presidential elections, but not in local elections, while 38% typically vote in both presidential and local elections.
Twenty-eight percent don’t typically vote in either.

A whopping 91% say they plan to vote in the 2016 presidential election. (File this one under “remains to be seen.”)

So–for those who do actually follow through and vote, for whom will they be casting those ballots? Forty-one percent identify as Democrats; 21% as Republican. (That difference ought to be a wake-up call to the GOP, but I’m not holding my breath.) The rest either call themselves independent or claim not to identify with any political party (I didn’t see how the question was framed, so I’m not sure what difference there is between these two choices).

Interestingly, although 31% admit to being politically influenced by their parents or family, 32% say their families are highly unlikely to influence their vote choices.

And what about the widely-held belief that social issues are of primary importance to the Millennial generation? Forty percent say financial issues are primary, 25% say social issues, and 35% say the two are equally important.

There’s much more. Millennial will follow the 2016 campaign on TV (72%) and Facebook (56%), trailed by online news sources, newspapers, Twitter and other social media.

The survey has sobering news for the growing number of lesser-knowns who are running for President:

59% have never heard of Martin O’Malley

59% have never heard of Jim Webb

67% have never heard of Lincoln Chafee

51% have never heard of Scott Walker

55% have never heard of Bernard Sanders

58% have never heard of Bobby Jindal

57% have never heard of Carly Fiorina

49% have never heard of Ben Carson

Finally, a bit of good news for Hillary Clinton: 70% of women say it’s very important to them that the candidate they vote for is a woman; 30% of men think the same.

Here is a link to the full survey. Have fun.

UPDATE: If the above link doesn’t work, try this one.


  1. I have wondered for many years; who conducts these polls, how are they conducted and who to they poll? I have yet to be asked a question on any public issue by anyone – other than friends and/or family during general conversations or in surveys on line or by mail which do not state they will be used for any purpose other than notifying elected officials of my opinion. IF that actually happens to surveys returned but not accompanied by a healthy donation. The percentage rates of published polls are usually surprising – not in a good way. With so many on line political and specific civil rights surveys on line and received in the mail; are these sources for some poll results? Just askin’

  2. I definitely agree that the perpetual “kids these days” commentary is silly – no different from what older people have been saying about younger people for generations.

    I am, however, skeptical about how much people (young and old) know about what motivates their votes. People claim to be issue-oriented and independent a lot more than their votes seem to reflect.

  3. “Oh those Millennials! We older folks wring our hands, ascribing to the younger generation all of the bad habits that our own parents ascribed to ours.”

    No, our parents said we were too loud, too aggressive, too fast, too selfish, too violent, our music was too fast and angry, our clothes were too flashy, we didn’t respect authority, we were too into sex, we drove too fast, and our pipes were too loud.

    Millennials are soft, weak, frail, non-confrontational, timid, withdrawn, excessively “aware” of every made-up controversy as an excuse to find some meaning for their lives, they claim piety in not driving, they dress like crap, their music is putrid low-talent soft whining, they live in high density housing because they’re afraid to live somewhere where they would have to drive and find their own social group, they drive slow, their first move on a woman is electronic. Millennials are the softest and weakest people America has ever produced.

    We have hit the point where the previous generation is entirely unafraid of and unthreatened by the subsequent generation.

    Politically, they just represent the reality that earlier generations refused to believe: it doesn’t matter who’s elected, so don’t worry about it. Prior generations got suckered in by a lot of campaign theater.

  4. We have noticed that many people don’t watch the news or even take the daily newspaper. It is not surprising then that they don’t recognize most of the names of the people who are running for president. They recognize names of celebrities and rap artists and athletes. Some of the younger people I know have hundreds of songs on their i-phones and i-pads by people I have never heard of let alone recognize any of the words to the songs. They can give you statistics on everything except anything political, so who will they ever vote for IF they ever vote at all. I have never been asked a question about any poll by phone or mail, so who knows where that information comes from and it seems to change daily.

  5. “Millennial will follow the 2016 campaign on TV (72%) and Facebook (56%), trailed by….” How often do you see intelligent analysis or commentary on either.

  6. It will take extra work with the crazy districts. Last time, Democrats received far more votes yet Republicans got far more seats. It is going to be an uphill climb for congress. And as we know, They can screw up everything if they wish.

  7. Interesting. Polling can be informative but so much rides on the exact wording of the questions and details of the sampling that it generally takes quite a bit of research to really know the meaningfulness.

    Also, when I think back to my turn here there is so much that comes from the stage of life one is in. When I was the age that millenials are today, my 20s and 30s, my attention was entirely focused on obligations. Marriage, kids, career, house, finances, and such that the bigger world had to wait until I had time.

    Here’s another factor from: http://www.industrytap.com/knowledge-doubling-every-12-months-soon-to-be-every-12-hours/3950

    “Buckminster Fuller created the “Knowledge Doubling Curve”; he noticed that until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today things are not as simple as different types of knowledge have different rates of growth. For example, nanotechnology knowledge is doubling every two years and clinical knowledge every 18 months. But on average human knowledge is doubling every 13 months. According to IBM, the build out of the “internet of things” will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours.”

    Amazing, huh?

    So the fact that subsequent generations are as different from us as we are from the “greatest” generation is not surprising.

    Sometimes I call us the “greediest” generation not because of some mass character flaw but because we have been the first generation to have been subjeçted to a full frontal attack by effective advertising. In fact this morning’s Gopper gripe demonstrates the impact. Eternal unhappiness from being exposed 24/7 to the message that we don’t ever have enough. We are entitled to more, ever more.

    When I talk to high schoolers about climate change there is zero denial among them. They are the ones who will receive the impact of our bumbling, they know the minimal science and don’t question it because they are already used to knowing so little of what is known that reliance on experts is a given.

    What does this say about the future? I think that the conservative meme that we caught from TV will die with us. The millenials will take up the gauntlet of replacing what’s broken in our culture with a mixture of good and bad that’s their own. The end of cheap energy and the cost of climate change will restructure the world economy and we’ll return to what’s affordable from what we feel entitled to. Religion will continue to decline. (I wish that I understood the Middle East better but I’m inclined to think that their millenials will oust their conservative extremists too.)

    In other words we will bumble on. If I’m too optimistic I think that my picture will be replaced by terrible times deciding on who will be among the relative few who get to go forward on the resources in our geologic bank account.

  8. Bernie Sanders draws a crowd of 10,000 at Wisconsin rally. “Tonight we have made a little bit of history,” the white-haired Sanders said, “Tonight we have more people at any meeting for a candidate of president of the United States than any other candidate.”

    The McMega-Media has tried portray Sanders as a fringe candidate. The Republicans are trying to label Bernie as an extremist. I guess wanting Medicare for all, raising the Minimum wage, shutting the tax loopholes for the 1%, voting against GWB’s invasion of Iraq, and voting against DOMA are extreme positions. Sanders in 1996 was one of only 67 House members who voted against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which denied federal benefits to gay spouses.

    Lets face it for us Baby Boomers politics was important. The Vietnam War, Civil Rights and Woman’s Rights were huge motivators. We were not going to sit back and be silent. The Gen X, and Millennials have not had these motivators. The Gen X and Millennials correctly identified a problem (1% vs 99%) and had the Occupy Movement.

  9. It seems to me that the constant boomer hand-wringing over the millennials says more about boomer self-importance than anything else. Here is the deal: you are going to die soon. What they eventually do with the country will have zero impact on you. What you do with the country will have massive impact on them (and already has). How about some introspection instead of whining about the kids not being exactly like you are?

  10. When I was in my 20s and 30s, I was just trying to survive so had little time for politics and changed the channel as soon as it was brought up. Nixon was disgraced during my formative years so I didn’t believe in gov’t.

    Then 9/11 happened and my eyes were shifted to another view. Since then, I have become political aware because it does affect us after all. The last two recessions have proven that it is out of our control and maybe, just maybe, someone like Bernie Sanders can help us get back on the right path. Self governance, self reliance with clean energy trends, getting rid of the wall street congress and hoping that my nieces and nephew’s children have more luck than we did in this terribly disturbing world we live in.

    The war on drugs is nearly over, the war on terrorism needs to focus on racism instead and we need to spend money here on infrastructure and not on wars that are in the middle east. Our society is more aware from the internet than ever before. You don’t need a library card or degree to learn from the world that the internet provides. Time to get with the times and grow up a little. Can’t happen soon enough. I’m going to die one of these days and I hope this place is better than when I got here.

  11. Gen X,

    Thanks for your candid response and one that I can handle easily as a Boomer parent of 2 adult sons, one a Gen Xer and one a Millennial. I have no desire to rule beyond the grave, none whatsoever. My late father, a product of the Great Depression in 1929, did believe it was his responsibility to set up his estate whereby he felt he could rule beyond his grave. It did not work, but his face was saved as he was no longer around. That was my choice to allow him to indulge his personal needs of exercising quasi-control until the time of his death.

    Both my adult sons are primarily concerned with the economy, with having jobs that allow them a bit of financial freedom away from heavy debts or the burden of worrying about bankruptcy. Neither son is concerned with who’s married, who’s not married, and who’s married to whom. Same-sex marriage is not an issue in their world. Both sons detest the Confederate flag simply because to them it represents a backwoods redneck society in their current location, the South.

    Both sons detest organized religion and have easily vanished from their parents’ mainstream Episcopal Church involvement during their early years. The older son stated he was simply sick and tired of all that kneeling. The younger son announced that he was not interested in spending Sunday mornings with a bunch of old hypocrites.

    The best thing is that both sons, their wives, and their children will be spending a long July 4th weekend with me. I’d not change them one bit, even if I thought I could.

  12. JoAnn, you raised a good question from earlier today. There are surveys, and then there are surveys.

    This particular survey is not a scientific survey, but rather is an Online market survey generator where an individual may select his/her target audience using key words and may design his/her own survey questions.

    The website for this particular survey generator is https://www.quicksurveys.com/. It’s a slightly more sophisticated slick iteration of the old https://www.surveymonkey.com/.

    One of the website’s highlighted recent surveys from 6/18/15 is “From millennials to baby boomers, a look at who attended their prom and what they wore.”

  13. JoAnn, you raised a good question from earlier today. There are surveys, and then there are surveys.

    This particular survey would not qualify as a scientific survey, but rather it originated from an Online market survey generator, Quick Surveys, where an individual may select his/her target audience using key words and may design his/her own survey questions. It’s a slightly more sophisticated iteration of the old Survey Monkey. Nonetheless, it can be viewed as fun and as a conversation starter.

    One of the website’s highlighted recent surveys from 6/18/15 is “From millennials to baby boomers, a look at who attended their prom and what they wore.”

  14. Thank you Fellow Gen X…my sentiments exactly! I agree with BSH’s observations. There are many times I think..what the hell your going to be dead soon and you are trying to save my generation you’ve done enough damage you selfish, sanctimonious selves.

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