Millennials reject capitalism and socialism, Harvard survey shows

Posted May 3

Millennials don't see themselves as capitalists, according to a new poll by Harvard's Institute of Politics. But they don't see themselves as socialists, either.

“Millennials care deeply about their futures and in this election cycle they are laser-focused on issues like access to educational opportunity, women’s equality and the economy,” said Harvard Institute of Politics Director Maggie Williams in a written statement. “This survey reflects their passion, their worries and most importantly, a growing awareness that their voices have power.”

They were more likely to support patriotism (57 percent), feminism (49 percent), social justice activism (48 percent) or progressivism (44 percent) than capitalism (42 percent) or socialism (33 percent). Only 19 percent identified themselves as a capitalist and only 16 percent as a socialist. Self-identification fell short of one-third in every category, though it was close for patriot at 32 percent.

The Washington Post Wonkblog couched the finding this way: "In an apparent rejection of the basic principles of the U.S. economy, a new poll shows that most young people do not support capitalism."

Meanwhile, 60 percent of young adults surveyed said women "face a 'glass ceiling,'" and 64 percent said men have more advantages than women in America, the poll found. That's compared to 27 percent who said men and women are treated equally and 7 percent who said women have more advantages.

The survey also asked about various candidates hoping to secure a presidential nomination from their political party. According to U.S. News and World Report, "Overall, the poll reflects a generation group that is disaffected, disappointed and unenthusiastic about the political choices in front of them. Only Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has a net favorable rating among millennials, with 54 percent approving of him and 31 percent disapproving. Every other candidate in the race is underwater in terms of favorability."

That article also noted "the criminal justice system additionally is viewed with skepticism, with fewer than half believing that people are judged without bias. The U.S. military is the only institution a majority of young people trust most of the time; Congress, the media and Wall Street are all at trust levels below 20 percent."

"Young Americans are not apathetic," polling director John Della Volpe told U.S. News. They are, however, "concerned that the current state of our institutions and our politics are not sufficient to meet our nation's challenges."

"For the first time in the past five years of Harvard's polls, significantly more young people called themselves Democrats than said they were independent," according to The Washington Post. "Forty percent were Democrats, 22 percent were Republicans and 36 percent were independent."

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