Op-Ed: Gen Z’s pragmatic politics could be a key to ending polarization
by John T. Kucsera, The Washington Post
Jan. 31, 2019
The young voters who will play a decisive role in shaping the country’s political future are more likely to be drawn to populist and progressive ideologies than to economic ideologies, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.
The study, released Thursday, also found that young voters are more likely to view politics in terms of personalities and not ideology.
The results mirror what’s been seen in other countries as well, particularly in England. In a recent poll from the Ipsos Mori firm, more than half said they were more likely to vote if they personally like the candidates while 40 percent said they should vote for the candidate who seems to have the better policies but not personally like them.
The analysis of Pew’s data from several dozen countries found that as many as 70 percent of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 lean to the left, while just 32 percent lean to the right.
“It’s been clear for some time that young people are attracted by the left-wing populism of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” said John L. Smith, president and chief research scientist at the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, in a statement.
The study also found that most of the younger voters who lean to the left are more likely than their older counterparts to be male, to come to the political academy, and to have been born in a major coastal city.
Yet the study also found that as many as 43 percent of voters under 30 who lean to the left have not voted at all. And the study finds young voters largely support the Democratic Party as a whole.
“Notably … Young people who lean toward the left are more likely than their conservative counterparts to say the country is going in the wrong direction,” Pew’s Smith said Thursday.
The research comes as some