More Millennials Identify as Conservative Than Liberal, Survey Finds

Fifty percent of millennials self-identify as politically conservative, while 43 percent self-identify as liberal and 7 percent as neutral or other, a report from Achieve and the Case Foundation finds.

Based on a survey of a thousand and fifty millennials (defined as individuals born between 1980 and 2000), the 2016 Millennial Impact Report: Wave 1 Trends (26 pages, PDF) found that 88 percent of millennial conservatives and 84 percent of millennial liberals were registered to vote, and that 84 percent and 81 percent, respectively, planned to vote in the 2016 presidential election. The first phase of a three-phase process to examine how political ideology, geographical location, gender, age, race/ethnicity, and/or presidential candidate preference influence millennials' engagement with social causes, the survey also found that education was the top social issue for millennial respondents who were supporters of Hillary Clinton, John Kasich, and Bernie Sanders; national security was the top issue for Ted Cruz supporters; and the economy was the top issue for Donald Trump supporters. In addition, slightly more than half of respondents said they trust the government only a little (31 percent) or not at all (20 percent) to do what is right.

According to the report, the overwhelming majority of millennials believe "people like them" can have a big (30 percent), moderate (37 percent), or small (23 percent) impact in the United States. Yet, when asked to rate how much they agree with the statement "I am an activist (a person who behaves intentionally to bring about political or social change)," the average response was 54 percent, with slightly higher average rates among male and conservative respondents. In addition, while 76 percent of respondents said they believed people like them can effect change around a social issue, and 64 percent had signed a petition related to such an issue in the past month, only half had volunteered for (46 percent) or donated to (52 percent) a cause in the past month.

"2016 Millennial Impact Report: Wave 1 Trends." Achieve and Case Foundation Report 06/21/2016. Emily Yu. "The 2016 Millennial Impact Report – Phase 1." Case Foundation Blog Post 06/21/2016.