For Politicians, Millennials Prove Hard To Pin Down

David  September 26, 2013

The emerging generation of politically active young Americans is shattering traditional notions of party affiliation and ideology in general.

By  | September 26, 2013

The emerging generation of millennials is shifting into a political power unlike those who have gone before, representing a new wave of Americans who no longer fit neatly into either major political party and are instead growing in their distrust for government and their desire for across-the-board accountability.

Coming of age in the era of the NSA’s expanded surveillance operations, millennials are emerging as more distrustful of the government, presenting a difficult scenario for political parties aiming to capture the young vote.

Americans under 30 have emerged as the most united in the belief in civil liberties protection. According to a Pew Research poll, 60 percent of young respondents claimed their largest government concern stemmed from its anti-terrorism policies that have infringed on civil liberties.

This trend hasn’t always gone this way. In 2010, the same organization polled Americans and discovered that those ranging from 18 to 29 years old were not quite sold on the idea that the government had gone too far in restricting civil liberties. When asked, only 40 percent responded that it felt it had. In that same poll, 38 percent of young respondents claimed the government wasn’t doing enough.

In 2013, the tides have turned. The poll, released in July, indicated the 20-point jump, with only 29 percent of respondents claiming the government wasn’t rolling back enough civil liberties for the sake of national security.

The trend of government disillusionment comes as the entire population, is notably moving in that direction. A Gallup poll released Sept. 23 indicates the same trend, with 60 percent of all Americans believing the federal government has too much power. That’s up from 2005, when roughly half held that view.

A TIME poll released in June, following Edward Snowden’s leak of secret NSA documents revealing the widespread surveillance program, indicated more than half of Americans believed Snowden’s actions were commendable.

Among respondents to the TIME poll, 54 percent indicated they considered Snowden’s actions to have reflected the “right thing” to do, indicating a shift away from trust in government.

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