Poll: Millennials’ Belief That Government Is Wasteful Has Grown During Obama Era

Chuck Ross | Reporter

The percentage of young adults who believe that government is wasteful and inefficient has grown dramatically during the Obama presidency, according to a new Reason-Rupe poll.

The survey, which asked 2,000 millennials — 18 to 29 year-olds — their views on government, re-affirmed the young cohort’s general aversion to government intrusion, including in its regulation of businesses, the economy, and of individuals’ choices.

Sixty-six percent of surveyed millennials say that they believe government is wasteful and inefficient, an increase over the 42 percent who said the same in a 2009 survey.

Sixty-three percent believe that government regulators favor special interests. Likewise, 58 percent say they think government agencies abuse their power.

A large majority — 73 percent — favor allowing private Social Security accounts, which Democrats generally oppose. Sixty-four percent believe that the economy would be helped by cutting government spending by five percent. Fifty-nine percent say that tax cuts would help the economy; 55 percent believe that cutting government regulations would boost it as well.

The survey, conducted in February and March, also showed strong opposition to the nanny state.

Seventy-two percent would allow the sale of large sodas and soft drinks, a ban of which was proposed by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. Sixty-one percent said that consumers should be able to purchase foods with trans fats.

The preference for personal choice extended to other hot-button social issues as well.

Sixty-seven percent of the surveyed millennials say they support the legalization of same-sex marriage, 61 percent believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and 57 percent support legalizing marijuana.

Despite the generally skeptical attitude towards the government, the surveyed millennials did say that it has a role in enacting policies aimed at improving standards of living for those who are less well off.

Seventy-four percent of say government is responsible for ensuring that everyone has a place to sleep and enough food to eat, according to the survey. Seventy-one percent support proposals to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

While barely a majority — 51 percent — support Obamacare, 69 percent say that the government has a responsibility to guarantee everyone access to health care.

Large majorities also say they believe government should ensure that everyone makes a “living wage,” and that raising taxes on the wealthy and spending more money on job training would improve the economy.

Unsurprisingly, despite a mostly laissez-faire attitude, the surveyed millennials expressed support for the political party most associated with big government.

Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed chose Hillary Clinton as their top 2016 presidential choice. Eight percent supported Democrat Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, while six percent said they would vote for Vice President Joe Biden.

Republicans had a poor showing, with only six percent saying that Wisconsin U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan would be their presidential pick. Only five percent said they would support Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who is thought to have heavy support from younger voters.

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