A new survey finds that Americans ages 18-25 are more concerned about President Donald J. Trump’s performance than older generations. Most young people believe that the president is mentally unfit to hold office, he is dishonest, and racist.
The poll was conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV. The poll states that only 33 percent of young people between the ages of 15 and 34 approve of the president’s performance. This is 9 points lower than all adults in a separate AP-NORC poll taken earlier in March.
A 27-year-old African-American graduate student stated that she feels Trump does not care about people like her. She believes “he’s twisted in the head. He just comes off as disgusting to me.”
The current poll is the first in a series of surveys designed for the youngest generation of voters. The respondents will all be old enough to vote in 2020, when Trump intends to seek re-election. According to Time, “[They] represent the most diverse generation in American history.”
If this generation votes at the same rate as older Americans, they will occupy the largest share of the electorate. Nonetheless, they are also the least likely to vote. In the 2014 midterm elections, 20 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 20 showed up at the election polls.
Even 27-year-old Nicole Martin who thinks Trump is “disgusting” said she has not thought about voting in the fall. However, there are signs that young people are becoming more involved in politics. Forty-seven percent of young people in America say they are paying closer attention to politics since Trump was elected. Two in 10 are engaging more in political activism.
On March 24, high school students led huge protests across the country, calling for stricter gun laws. This was in the wake of a school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead. According to the survey, young people are more focused on guns than any other issue. Twenty-one percent of young Americans say gun laws are their top priority, 15 percent are concerned about the economy, and 8 percent said their highest concern is social inequality. More than 7 in 10 say that Trump does not reflect their personal values.
Twenty-three-year-old Meghan Carnes says, “He doesn’t seem to be really for women. He doesn’t seem to be for Black Lives Matter. He doesn’t seem to be for DACA. He doesn’t seem to be for the kids worried about guns. It’s extremely disappointing to have a president who doesn’t seem to care.”
According to the new survey, 60 percent of young Americans believe Trump is “mentally unfit,” 63 percent believe “he is a racist,” and 62 percent say he is “generally dishonest.” An AP-NORC survey conducted in mid-February states that 57 percent of all adults in American believe Trump is a racist.
A 23-year-old resident of Topeka, Kansas, Spencer Buettgenbach, said, “The president has emboldened attitudes about racism, sexism and homophobia by normalizing abusive talk. Especially living in Kansas – for me as a gay man – it’s kind of scary. He’s like the world’s worst boogeyman.”
The survey showed that young people overwhelmingly support minorities: 69 percent are in favor of a way for immigrants, who were brought to American illegally as children, to become legalized citizens. Fifty-nine percent favor protecting the rights of those in the LGBT community and 58 percent say the same for Muslims.
Other issues young people feel strongly about include: 76 percent want to be allowed to refinance student loan debt at lower rates, 67 percent want the government to provide health insurance to all Americans, and 60 percent want the government to address climate change. Fifty-five percent want the federal government to legalize recreational marijuana, 46 percent want abortion to be legal in most cases and 26 percent are opposed to the legalization of abortion.
The priorities held by Trump are not popular with this age group. Forty percent are opposed to the Republican-backed tax overhaul and more than half are opposed to the construction of Trump’s “big, beautiful wall.” Thirty-six percent agree with the increase in military and defense spending.
Fifty-four percent think that Trump is treated unfairly by the media. An opinion shared by Kristopher Cochran, who is a 22-year-old engineering student at Virginia Tech. He does not think Trump is mentally unfit, because he was able to make a large amount of money. However, he understands why people would think that Trump was mentally unfit. Cochran said, “I’m not a fan of his incessant need for Twitter. He acts like a child.”
Cochran is not alone in his feelings about Trump’s tweets. Forty-nine percent of young people suggested Trump delete his account and 37 percent said he should “take it down a notch.”
Only 13 percent of young Americans said Trump should keep doing what he is doing.
By Jeanette Smith
Time: ‘The World’s Worst Boogeyman.’ Most Young Americans Disapprove of President Trump, Poll Finds
Image Courtesy of Gage Skidmore’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License