How liberal are millennials?

Students at American University say the campus appears to lean more left

Source: PEW Research Center
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Today’s younger generation is more left-leaning compared to older generations. A study from the Pew Research Center showed that about 55 percent of millennials are more likely to identify as Democrats or Democratic-leaning.

Millennials and people born in Generation X are the most Democratic generation, according to Pew’s 2016 study. Baby Boomers are about evenly split, and the Silent Generation is the most Republican.

Millennials and Gen Xers increasingly identify as liberal Democrats; more Boomers, Silents identify as conservative Republicans
Millennials and Generation Xers increasingly identify as liberal Democrats Source: Pew Research Center

The number of people who identified as Democrats and liberal Democrats in 2016 slightly increased since the year before, 19 percent to 21 percent. However, only 12 percent of Americans identified as Democrats in 2000.

In the past decade, millennials who identified as conservative and moderate liberals outnumbered the self-identifying liberal Democrats.

Gabriela Reyes, American University junior, said she thinks conservative millennials are more “brave” about their political identity.

“They’re more brave in the sense that they feel that they can outwardly express it now more than ever,” she said.

AU sophomore, Stephanie Lopez, said being liberal became trendy after the 2016 presidential election.

Although there was a rise in liberals and Democrats, there was also an increase in conservatives and Republicans, but only within the Baby Boomer and Silent generation populations. About 30 percent of Baby Boomers identified as conservative Republicans in 2015 and 2016. The Silent generation is now most likely to identify as conservative Republicans, but according to Pew’s report, this wasn’t the case eight years ago.

in 2008, Democrats outnumbered Republicans in the Silent population, 48 percent to 40 percent. That percentage jumped in 2016 with almost half that population leaning toward Republicans and 43 percent leaning toward Democrats.

“There’s a lot of fake Liberals who think that they are woke but they don’t actually understand the issues they’re advocating for.”

Now, Liberals seem to be the majority at American University, but Lopez said it might be an illusion.

“I think there’s a lot of people who think they lean left but actually don’t,” the public relations major said. “I feel like, especially at AU, there’s a lot of fake liberals who think that they are woke but they don’t actually understand the issues they’re advocating for. They’re just doing it because they’re just bandwagoning it.”

Lopez said she witnesses students only participating in protests because their friends are there.

“Even if you’re not personally affected you can still protest, but you should understand why it’s happening,” she said.

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