Presidential Polls 2012: On Two Key Issues, Young People Are Torn Between Liberal and Conservative Views

Our generation, the millennial generation, is different. While it is easy to classify previous generations – particularly Baby Boomers – as liberal, the millennial generation is more of a mixed bag. For example, on racial issues, there is a stark divide. White millennials tend to hold conservative views, whereas non-white millennials hold liberal views. But on issues of sexual morality, millennials appear to hold moderate views. On one important issue, they are decidedly liberal.

For evidence, let's take a look at the 2012 Millennial Values Survey, which analyzed 2,013 millennials ages 18-24. Of those millennials, 57% identified as white, 21% as Hispanic, 14% as black, 6% as some other race, and 3% as two or more racial categories. We’ll start with the issue of race, which is sure to generate the most surprise.

From page 36 of the report: “Only around one-quarter (24%) of black millennials and slightly more than one-third (37%) of Hispanic millennials agree that the government had paid too much attention to the problems of blacks and other minorities, compared to 56% of white millennials.”

And from pages 36-37: “A solid majority (58%) of white millennials believe that discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities, compared to only 24% of black millennials and about 4-in-10 (39%) Hispanic millennials.”

Even though millennials were constantly bombarded in the education system with propaganda about the evils of whites – evils such as slavery and lynching which no white person alive today is responsible for – that propaganda didn’t stick. White millennials perceive the anti-white nature of policies that promote diversity and multiculturalism, and as whites become an ever-shrinking minority in the nation that was founded and built by their ancestors, the divide on racial issues between whites and non-whites is likely to grow.

On the issues of sexual morality, the survey unfortunately did not delineate between whites and non-whites, but the findings were interesting all the same. Take pornography, for example. According to the chart on page 30, 51% of all millennials think that viewing it is morally wrong, whereas 41% think viewing it is morally acceptable. Fifty-seven percent of millennials favor making it more difficult to access pornography on the internet, whereas 39% are opposed. Among females, the gap is even bigger: 65% favor heavier restrictions on internet pornography, 33% oppose.


So then, are millennials actually conservative on sexual morality? Not exactly. That same chart shows that 64% of all millennials feel that sex between an unmarried man and woman is morally acceptable, whereas only 29% are opposed. Millennials aren’t sexual libertines, but they don’t think sex must be saved until marriage either.

With the Supreme Court set to issue a ruling on a controversial case brought by a young white female student over affirmative action, the divide on reverse discrimination between white and non-white millennials will be magnified. Furthermore, the moderate views of millennials on sexual morality suggests that the ongoing debate between "abstinence only" and "safe-sex" proponents is not constructive, and that there is a middle ground to be found in the form of "abstinence plus." 

Sound off and tell me what you think!

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Dan Poole

Dan Poole is a 2012 graduate of Oakland University, with a BA in Political Science and a Minor in History. He's a hybrid of a conservative and a libertarian - a conservatarian - who vociferously opposes liberalism but who isn't afraid to criticize the various branches of conservatism and libertarianism when appropriate. He's also a proud native of Southeast Michigan who would love to see Detroit return to its long lost glory as the most prosperous city in America.

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