Polling data has found that younger Americans, particularly Generation Z and millennials, are increasingly likely to support socialism and progressive policies such as free college tuition. While “socialism” has long been a dirty word in American politics, younger voters don’t seem to have near as much stigma.
Nearly half (49.6 percent) of Gen Z and millennials report that they would prefer to live in a socialist country. Most likely, they’re thinking more of Norway than Venezuela. Either way, only 37 percent of the total population reports that they’d want to live in a socialist country.
Further, 61 percent of Gen Z voters have a positive reaction to socialism as a word. This compares with just 39 percent for the total population.
Meanwhile, while 66.7 percent of Americans now support universal healthcare, a larger portion (73.2 percent) of younger voters also support healthcare concepts. 67.1 percent of Gen Z and millennials also support free college tuition, compared to 56.2 percent of the general population.
Gen Z and millennials will make up roughly 37 percent of the electorate in 2020. While young voters have often skipped voting, during the 2018 midterms a surprisingly large share of young voters turned out to vote. 31 percent of young voters turned out in 2018, with two-thirds voting for Democrats. Historically, far fewer young voters have bothered to vote.
Come 2020, and young voters could play a huge role in determining who will win the presidency. They will also shape policy debates. For millennials, climate change, mass shootings, and access to healthcare are the biggest issues. Gen Z is likewise concerned about mass shootings, and also race inequality and immigration.
So far, many Democratic candidates have been talking about the above issues at length, possibly in an attempt to court younger voters.