Washington, D.C. - The opinions of young voters--registered voters age 18-29--are not dramatically different from those of all registered voters on the basic political questions of Bush approval ratings and his reelection. These young voters came of political age at a moment of intense partisan divisions and divisiveness, however, and it shows. It is as if young voters believe their side, whichever side that is, is the side that is always right and the other side is always wrong, as evidenced in this Newsweek.com/Ipsos GeNext Poll, conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs. Young people are deeply divided on partisan grounds. You know--like their parents. An earlier generation defined itself by its united stand against its elders, at least if you believed the rhetoric--"Don't trust anyone over 30." This generation looks an awful lot like its elders in its overall political views, and today's younger generation is characterized by the intense partisan divisions within the generation on many issues. The Newsweek.com/Ipsos GeNext Poll was conducted among a representative sample of 350 young registered voters nationwide, identified from successive waves of Ipsos polls conducted January 2-18, 2004 with representative samples of adults nationwide. The margin of error is +/-5.3 percentage points. Key Findings:
- While most young voters (60%) think the Bush Administration made the right decision when it invaded Iraq, most (56%) also believe that most of the burden of that policy is borne by people under age 30. That burden is felt especially on the Northeast and West coasts, and among young Catholic voters. Support for the war is highest among young voters with no college experience.
- Young voters divided evenly on the question of banning most abortions (with exceptions for rape, incest and a threat to the life of the mother). Few young voters, however, seem anxious to re-open the abortion debates that raged before they were born, prior to Roe v. Wade. By a 60%-38% margin, they support that Supreme Court decision.
- Roe v. Wade is a wedge issue that may favor the pro-choice side among young voters. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of pro-life young voters are more likely to vote for a President who would impose an anti-Roe litmus test on Supreme Court nominees, but nearly three-quarters (74%) of pro-choice young voters are more likely to support a President who'd apply a pro-Roe litmus test to Supreme Court nominees.
- Young voters split 50%-47% on whether same sex marriage should be legal or not, but swing voters (those who have not decided for sure whether to vote to reelect Bush or vote for someone else) favor same sex marriage by a wider 55%-41% margin. When the question moves to a constitutional amendement to ban same sex marriage, all young voters oppose the amendment by 43%-54%, and young swing voters oppose, 36%-60%.