Thursday, December 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Millennials rising – and they’re different

By
From page A11 | March 14, 2014 |

The young are different from you and me – unless, of course, you happen to be one of them.

If you’re older than 34, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you’re no longer the wave of the future. That distinction belongs to those born between 1980 and 2002, dubbed the “millennial generation” because they began to come of age at the turn of the century. They’ve grown up, most of them have found jobs (although that hasn’t been easy) and they’re a bigger, more powerful part of the electorate every year. The millennials are a major reason President Obama won re-election in 2012; if nobody under 30 had voted that year, Mitt Romney would be in the White House today.

The independent Pew Research Center released a major report on the attitudes of the millennial generation last week, and here’s what it found:

The millennials are decidedly liberal, especially on social issues such as immigration and same-sex marriage. That helps explain why Obama won their votes by a 16-point margin in 2012.

Among those under 34, self-declared liberals outnumber conservatives by a small margin, 31 percent to 29 percent, making them the only age group in which conservatives aren’t ahead. (Among baby boomers, a generation once considered decidedly anti-establishment, conservatives far outnumber liberals, 41 percent to 21 percent.)

The difference is even more striking when it comes to social issues. A majority of millennials, 55 percent, believe illegal immigrants should be granted a pathway to citizenship; that’s true of no other age group. According to Pew’s polls, a massive 68 percent of millennials support same-sex marriage; among baby boomers and older voters, support for same-sex marriage is still below 50 percent. The numbers are similar on marijuana legalization: 69 percent of millennials think it’s a good idea; baby boomers may think they invented marijuana, but only about half think it ought to be legal.

But millennials are not necessarily committed Democrats; most of them don’t identify strongly with either party. And their standoffishness goes beyond politics: The millennials are “unmoored from institutions,” Pew says. About three in 10 say they aren’t affiliated with any religious tradition, meaning more are “unchurched” than any older generation. Only about one-fourth of millennials are married; at the same age, about half of baby boomers had tied the knot.

And yet, despite their wariness about traditional institutions – and despite the punishing recession at the start of their careers – millennials are amazingly upbeat. According to Pew, 86 percent say they already make enough money to live the kind of life they want now or are confident they will in the future.

“They are America’s most stubborn optimists,” says Pew’s Paul Taylor, author of “The Next America,” a book that charts the diverging generations. As the father of three millennial daughters, I suspect that’s partly because they have access to their parents’ Netflix accounts, plus occasional recourse to the Bank of Dad. But Taylor offers a simpler explanation: “They have the invincibility of youth.”

Still, no generation is a monolith, and there’s one ancient divide that still runs through the millennials: race and ethnicity.

In Pew’s polling, white and nonwhite millennials held measurably different views on some subjects, including Obama’s performance as president. Most nonwhite millennials approved of the president’s performance, but among white millennials, his approval rating was only 34 percent – about the same percentage Obama wins among older whites.

Likewise, in the 2012 election Obama won among voters under 30, but 51 percent of young white voters went for Romney. That was not so in 2008, when 54 percent of young white voters went for Obama, which suggests that between 2008 and 2012 white millennials moved toward their parents’ politics.

The racial divide turns up on another key question, too: attitudes about the size of government. More than half of millennials say they would favor a bigger government that provides more services over a small government that does less, but that masks a divide: About half of white millennials prefer a smaller government, but 71 percent of nonwhite millennials want a bigger one. That still makes white millennials “more liberal than older whites,” Pew’s Carroll Doherty told me, just “not nearly as liberal as nonwhites.”

So in one sense, the millennials’ political attitudes merely reflect their 21st century demographics. The under-34 generation is far more diverse than its predecessors: 57 percent white, 21 percent Latino, 13 percent black and 6 percent Asian. (My generation, the baby boomers, is 72 percent white.) They’re a big part of the reason the American electorate will lose its white majority later this century.

But race isn’t the whole story. On social issues, including immigration and interracial marriage, white millennials are liberals, too. “Race doesn’t matter at all,” Doherty said.

There are lessons in those numbers for both political parties. Democrats must understand that while the next generation of voters is open to their message, they can’t be taken for granted; when they get older and pay more taxes, some will surely bolt. And Republicans had better accept that if they remain a party of social conservatives resisting immigration reform, they’re on their way out of business — soon.

Doyle McManus is a columnist for The Los Angeles Times. Readers may send him email at doyle.mcmanus@latimes.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 4 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • StuckInTheMiddleWithUMarch 14, 2014 - 12:51 am

    We are quite optimistic aren't we? considering we're paying into Social Security, which we will never see...

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The MisterMarch 14, 2014 - 7:18 am

    Once it comes time for the young to pay the bill of the old, I hope they have still have enough sense to revolt. We should have. The generation before us should have. The "greatest generation" should have. But we keep letting the tyrants get stronger and jeopardizing the future. Shame on us and shame on our fathers.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • S KMarch 14, 2014 - 7:37 am

    Tyrannical or not, I paid into Social Sec. for many many decades since working as a teen, through my military years (I think we had that taken out>>LOL), and with 28 yrs. working with PacBell, so AFAIK, that is MY MONEY. And I get so FREAKIN tired when I hear people/politicians refer to it as, "Entitlement." That program is NOT ENTITLEMENT. It is OUR MONEY, that we PAID into, with many dying even before the get to receive any back. The Government needs to pay those IOUs back from the S.S. funds they STOLE!!!!!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The MisterMarch 14, 2014 - 10:08 am

    We get older and learn that the government lies and we can't trust the government. Our only hope is the youth learn this. But perhaps that's what Common Core and government-run education is all about... making sure the youth don't realize the truth about their government.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Solano College trustees move back ‘home’

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Needs of small dog give Solano man life’s mission

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

     
    Christmas comes early for prenatal program participants

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Jury convicts teen for role in 2012 DeBartolo’s heist

    By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3, 3 Comments | Gallery

     
    Police chief: Suisun crime up 3 percent in 2014

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

     
    Council OKs $65,730 pact to advocate for Travis base

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

     
    Fairfield pays $42,500 to settle soil suit

    By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

     
     
    Fairfield police log: Dec. 16, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

    Fairfield police log: Dec. 15, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

     
    Suisun City police log: Dec. 16, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

    Suisun City police log: Dec. 15, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

     
    .

    US / World

    US, Cuba patch torn relations in historic accord

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Fears fanned by hackers bring down Sony film

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Like Iran, secret diplomacy leads to US-Cuba thaw

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Pope played crucial role in US-Cuba rapprochement

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    US travel industry carefully eyeing Cuba tourism

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    US-Cuba thaw could benefit farmers, energy and travel firms

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Cubans cheer historic renewal of US relations

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

    Freed American endured years of declining health

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Bay Bridge light sculpture to keep on shining

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

    Study: Huge wildfire supports need for controlled burns

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    A fresh setback for efforts to cure HIV infection

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

    14 charged in deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Study: Alcatraz inmates could have survived escape

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Nigerian court sentences 54 soldiers to death

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    Colombian rebels announce unilateral cease-fire

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

    Russians flock to stores to pre-empt price rises

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

     
    Pakistan buries victims of school massacre

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

    .

    Opinion

     
    Crime Witness Protocol 101

    By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

    Asia needs to prepare for a possible China crash

    By William Pesek | From Page: A7

     
    Editorial Cartoons: Dec. 18, 2014

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Living

    Today in History: Dec. 18, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Community Calendar: Dec. 18, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

    Horoscopes: Dec. 18, 2014

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

     
    My siblings don’t want to replace abusive mother’s pacemaker

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

    .

    Entertainment

    25 movies chosen for the National Film Registry

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

     
    Saving Private Ryan’ among films being preserved

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

    TVGrid

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    .

    Sports

    For MLB, changes in Cuba will take time to sort out

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Falcons cruise by crushers in girls basketball

    By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    49ers release McDonald amid further legal trouble

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

     
    Carr faces another tough test in rookie season

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

    Painkillers lawsuit against NFL dismissed; may be appealed

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Garcia resigns as FIFA prosecutor

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Chattanooga women stun No. 7 Stanford 54-46

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Track coach Drummond gets 8-year doping suspension

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Warriors’ Bogut out with knee injury vs. Thunder

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    AP source: Romo close to $15M, 2-year deal with Giants

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Baseball monitoring White House Cuba decision

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    APNewsBreak: Judge rejects NCAA concussions deal

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    This date in sports history for Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    .

    Business

    Health care exchange sign-ups exceeding last year

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Fed to be ‘patient’ about a rate hike; stocks soar

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    McDonald’s in Japan limits orders of fries

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

     
    Amid scrutiny, Uber says it will focus more on safety

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

    .

    Obituaries

    Ernest “Ernie” Moretti

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Jennie Ponce Reyes

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    Patricia “Pat” Anne Stringfield-Pierre

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Marian L. “Chicki” Downs

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Beetle Bailey

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Frank and Ernest

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Zits

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Sally Forth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Garfield

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Peanuts

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Dilbert

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Get Fuzzy

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    For Better or Worse

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    B.C.

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Rose is Rose

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Blondie

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Pickles

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Baldo

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Baby Blues

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

     
    Wizard of Id

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

    Word Sleuth

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Crossword

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Cryptoquote

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    Sudoku

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

    Bridge

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9