WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2011 – Generation Opportunity, one of the largest and fastest growing grassroots voter education organizations, released results from its national poll exploring how America’s young adults view the world, the American economy, and their personal futures. The Generation Opportunity poll focuses specifically on young Americans ages 18-29, popularly referred to as the “Millennial” generation. The data is particularly relevant in light of President Barack Obama’s recent Asia-Pacific trip, and it reveals the opinions of young Americans on issues such as U.S. debt and indebtedness to China, a variety of economic challenges, and domestic concerns.
The Generation Opportunity poll found that seventy-six percent of young American adults view China as either an economic or military threat. Sixty-two percent believe the top American national security issue is the U.S. debt followed by energy dependency and indebtedness to foreign powers.
“America’s future leaders are well aware of the world around them and the competition the United States faces both now and in the future. They know America’s ability to lead and our national security have been put at risk by reckless deficit spending and increased indebtedness to foreign powers such as China. Young Americans are prepared to change the status quo because they refuse to settle for a future defined by an ongoing lack of jobs, a poor economy, and the possibility that the U.S. will no longer be a leader on the world stage,” said Paul T. Conway, president of Generation Opportunity and the former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Labor under Secretary Elaine L. Chao. Conway has also served as an official at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and is an alumnus of the Senior Executives in National and International Security program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
To reduce these vulnerabilities and manage America’s national security challenges, young Americans believe elected officials in Washington, D.C. need to get the country on more stable economic footing by cutting federal spending rather than raising taxes. They also believe the U.S. needs to increase the production of domestic energy sources such as oil, natural gas, and coal.
Generation Opportunity commissioned a poll with the polling company, inc./WomanTrend (April 16 – 22, 2011, +/- 4 percent margin of error) and highlights some of the results below.
America’s Young Adults: The China Threat, American Exceptionalism, and U.S. Economic Priorities:
- 76 percent of Young Americans view China as a danger: 48 percent as an economic threat and 28 percent as both an economic and military threat.
- Top 3 greatest threats to American National Security: National Debt (62 percent), Energy Dependency (61 percent) and Indebtedness to Foreign Powers (50 percent). The threat of terrorism at (39 percent) followed as the fourth major national security concern.
- 56 percent — more than half — indicated their agreement with “American Exceptionalism” — described as an ideal of freedom and democracy exclusive and unique to the United States, only 29 percent disagreed.
- Only 31 percent approve of President Obama’s handling of American youth unemployment.
- When asked on a scale of 1 (meaning not at all) to 5 (meaning a very big concern) how much of a concern America’s current” financial debt”/”deficit” rates, 66 percent of young Americans indicated very big concerns with America’s “financial debt” and 71 percent indicated very big concerns about America’s “deficit.”
- 54 percent — more than one half — of Young Americans are not confident that the U.S. will be a global leader in just 10 years. Only 9 percent said they were “very confident” that the U.S. would be in 10 years.
- 70 percent (net) would increase production of domestic energy sources like oil, natural gas and coal; only 22 percent (net) would decrease production of the same energy sources.