New polling shows younger voters may hold liberal views on social justice issues and abortion, but stark gender differences divide Gen Z on these issues. Gen Z prioritizes strong leadership to a greater degree than any other age cohort, and two-thirds say force should be used if necessary to protect the American way of life.
The poll, conducted in September by Meredith College, finds that on issues like abortion, LGBTQ+ issues, and marijuana legalization, Zoomers do indeed hold some of the most liberal views of any age group. However, digging deeper, Gen Z men are significantly less liberal than women. On the issue of abortion for example, Zoomer men are much less amenable — 30 percent less — to expanding abortion access and supporting Roe v. Wade than Gen Z women.
Zoomer men are much less amenable — 30 percent less — to expanding abortion access and supporting Roe v. Wade than Gen Z women.
The polling also shows a significant share of Zoomer men hold a more traditional view of gender roles with over 40% saying they prefer a male political leader, the highest among men of any generation.
The polling also shows young voters have more of an appetite for strong leadership than any other age cohort and are more open to wielding the power of government to protect an American way of life. Over half of Gen Z says it is more important to have a strong leader than it is to “protect Democracy”, and according to the researchers no other age cohort was close to 50 percent in preferring a strong leader.
Over half of Gen Z says it is more important to have a strong leader than it is to “protect Democracy”.
What’s more, a full two-thirds of Zoomers say force should be used if the American way of life is disappearing. No other age cohort had a majority of respondents in favor of using force to protect the American way of life.
Professor David McLennan, who directed the poll, remarked, “the results from our work suggest there is a strong conservative element within Gen Z on policy issues and the role of women in politics—a shift to more traditional views among the male population.” He went on, “Illiberalism is also strong within Gen Z—both in males and females—which should be concerning to all Americans. Coupled with the fact President Biden’s approval among Gen Z has dropped precipitously from the highs enjoyed by former President Obama, it is apparent both sides have mischaracterized this generation greatly.”
While McLennan may be troubled by Gen Z’s illiberalism, younger voters may simply be more willing to wield the power of government to combat destructive globalist policies and protect traditional life.
These findings speak to the core of young people’s ideology and indicate a strong preference for the kind of active leadership former President Trump was known for as well as a desire to protect an American way of life that is under assault.
Market Research Foundation’s Gen Z research also found an underlying preference for policies that protect the American way of life and reject globalism and lawlessness.
Our survey of 1,501 high school and college students found that young Americans have adopted a self-interested and rational form of ‘libertarian populism’. Their views are characterized by a rejection of globalism and foreign intervention, and a strong preference for the rule of law.
Gen Z supports an America First philosophy
Our research found surprisingly high support among Gen Z for an America First philosophy, with 85% of young Republicans, 74% of young Independents, and 65% of young Democrats saying the goal of any law or policy should be to benefit Americans first, even at the expense of other countries.
We also found broad support for an America First agenda among all races. Seventy-seven percent of Gen Z Whites, 71% of Gen Z Blacks, and 63% of gen Z Hispanics agree with an America First agenda.
Gen Z is staunchly against foreign wars
While the Meredith poll shows Gen Z has an appetite for using government to restore a traditional way of life, that appetite does not carry over to supporting interventionist foreign policy. Zoomers across the political spectrum firmly reject foreign meddling and foreign aid in favor of America First policy.
Zoomers across the political spectrum firmly reject foreign meddling and foreign aid in favor of America First policy.
Our research shows 68% of young Republicans, an equal share of young Democrats (68%) and 71% of young Independents think the U.S. should stay out of international conflicts as much as possible.
On the issue of foreign aid, 82% of young Republicans, 73% of young Independents, and 66% of young Democrats would like to see a reduction in foreign aid in favor of spending on U.S. based programs.
Gen Z supports citizen-first immigration policy
Across the board, Gen Z rejects open borders and lawlessness when it comes to immigration policy. Eighty-one percent of Gen Z say immigrants must follow the rules to become citizens even if they are difficult and 58% of Gen Z say it doesn’t matter if illegal immigrants cause problems; if they came here illegally, they need to leave or go through the proper procedures to stay.
Eighty-one percent of Gen Z say immigrants must follow the rules to become citizens even if they are difficult.
This stance is supported by 86% of Generation Z Republicans, 61% of Generation Z Independents, and 42% of Generation Z Democrats.
Gender plays a major role in Gen Z priorities
Like the Meredith polling, outside research finds that Zoomer men are significantly more conservative than Zoomer women. Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research group, conducted a comprehensive analysis into 15-24 olds in 2018, and found that Trump was viewed favorably by more than 4 in 10 young white men.
The researchers also found young women are about twice as likely as men to prioritize the issue of LGBT rights: 36% of young women say it is a critical issue, compared to 19% of young men. What’s more, only 29% of white young men say race relations are a critical concern to them personally, compared to only 46% of white young women.
Broadly, both the Democrat and Republican parties are rapidly shifting and realigning, with modern Republicans rejecting the hawkish globalist policies of the early 2000’s in favor of inward-focused populism. Democrats are becoming increasingly more hawkish and globally fixated. Young people are emerging onto a new political landscape, and redefining what it means to be Republican or Democrat.
Overall, young people prefer an inwardly focused set of policy goals, and vehemently reject foreign intervention and the undermining of American citizens. They also appear to have a stronger appetite than previous generations for traditionalism and restoring an American way of life not seen in decades. Whether this preference takes the shape of libertarianism, populism, or something entirely different is yet to be determined.