New Reason-Rupe Poll suggests millennials see government as corrupt, inefficient

Caitlin Grimes
Jul 14, 2014 at 11:23 AM

A recent poll conducted by Reason has highlighted some changes in the opinions of millennials. In a survey that polled 2,000 individuals between the ages of 18 and 29, several new themes were found in young peoples' perceptions towards the government. The survey found not only that millennials think government is inefficient, but also that many believe government officials support cronyism and abuse their powers.

Reason-Rupe Poll

In 2009, only 42 percent of young people ages 18 to 29 saw government as wasteful or inefficient. This has changed significantly with 66 percent now seeing the government as inefficient. A little less than two-thirds of young people think that government regulators favor special interests over that of the public at 63 percent. At 58 percent, more than half, millennials are convinced that government agencies abuse their power.

The study also measured how millennials feel towards political parties. The poll found that millennials lack confidence in both parties on 12 out of 15 issues. However, Democrats were viewed as the better of two bad options (32). One particular finding was that half of millennials, 50 percent, trust neither Democrats nor Republicans on the issue of privacy (32). A compilation of the results found that even millennials who identify as Republican don’t even trust the Republican Party to handle the most pressing concerns in the nation (35).When polled on their views on the role of the government, young people have many evolving opinions. Many millennials don’t believe it is the government’s role to promote traditional values but feel it should ensure a basic standard of living. Individuals ages 18-29 aren’t convince it is the government’s job to reduce the income gap and a trend suggests that as their personal income levels increase, their support for redistribution policies declines (36). The study also suggests that many of the younger generation support policies that both expand and limit the role of government. The theme being they want the government to be active and do more to society. On that same note, millennials also want a less active government than in the past (37).

When high taxes were incorporated into the question, support for large government decreased. Those in favor of large government and more services decreased from 54 to 41 percent when high taxes were mentioned (47). A large number of millennials favored a free market over a government managed economy, 64 to 32 percent. In contrast, when the labels "capitalism" and "socialism" were used, the numbers changed steadily, with 52 percent in favor of capitalism and 42% in socialism (55). This raised several important questions about millennials' understanding of socialism. They appear to be more favorable towards socialism, though it is much more interventionist than a government-run economy.  

These are just some of the new perspectives that can be found in this study by Reason. The roughly hundred-page study breaks down each of these highlighted areas by specific issues important to millennials, as well as referencing data from previous studies in recent years. Millennials are up for grabs by both parties in the near future elections, especially if there is a socially liberal, economic-minded candidate willing to take up the cause! For more insight on how millennials feels about government, make sure to check the entire Reason-Rupe Poll.

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