The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s news blog recently wrote about two new reports claiming that America’s young people (teens and twenty somethings) are overwhelmingly politically progressive. The first report, The Political Ideology of the Millennial Generation, identified 17 liberal and four conservative values and beliefs supported by a majority of 18- to 29-year-olds.
The second report, New Progressive America: The Millennial Generation, concludes the same thing: that America’s young people are “unusually progressive.”
Finally, there is an interactive map that breaks down the results geographically.
I’m skeptical of these reports for several reasons. First, note the sponsoring institution of these reports: the Center for American Progress. This fact alone does not discredit the findings. It does, however, make me slightly more skeptical about their interpretation. They have a vested interest in portraying America’s youth as progressive.
Second, I wonder how much of this “progressivism” is simply a result of the post-Obama glow. America-in-general has shifted to the left in the wake of the first election of a liberal since, arguably, Jimmy Carter in 1976. (Clinton, despite his progressive promise in 1992-1993, ruled as a moderate.) Are the reports a product of a time?
What would the results have been two years ago? Four years ago? 10 years from now?