Poll: Young Americans Leaning Liberal

June 27, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Government & Politics | Youth & Gen X

More Americans age 17-29 are paying attention to the presidential race than four years ago, but they’re substantially familiar with only two candidates, Democratic Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to a New York Times/CBS News/MTV poll, reports the New York Times.

That age group is also more likely than the population at-large to want universal healthcare insurance, less stringent immigration laws, and legalized gay marriage – but is more optimistic about the outcome of the Iraq war – according to the poll.


Some findings from the survey of Americans age 17-29:

  • 28% describe themselves as liberal, compared with 20% of the population overall.
  • 27% consider themselves conservative, compared with 32% of the public.
  • 58% say they are paying attention to the presidential campaign, compared with 35% who said so at the same point in the 2004 presidential campaign.
  • Some 54% say they will vote for a Democrat for president in 2008, and only 28% approve of President Bush, whereas after Sept. 11 that proportion was 80%.
  • 58% say they had a favorable view of the Democratic Party; 38% say so about Republicans.
  • 18% say they are enthusiastic about the candidacy of Obama for President, followed by 17% about the candidacy of Clinton and in third place, with 4%, the candidacy of Giuliani.
  • 43% say they have an unfavorable view of Clinton, whereas 19% say they have an unfavorable view of Obama.


  • Young Americans were more optimistic about the outcome than was the population as whole. 51% say the US is very or somewhat likely to succeed in Iraq, compared with 45% of all US adults.
  • 44% say same-sex couples should be permitted to get married, compared with 28% of the public.
  • They are more likely to support legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana.
  • 62% say they would support a universal, government-sponsored national healthcare insurance program, compared with 47% of the US population.
  • 30% say “Americans should always welcome new immigrants,” compared with 24% of the general public.
  • 70% said the US is on the wrong track
  • 48% say they fear that their generation would be worse off than their parents’.

The nationwide telephone poll was a joint effort by The New York Times, CBS News and MTV It was conducted June 15-23 and involved 659 adults age 17-29. Full survey results (pdf) are available on the New York Times website.

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