How Will Gen Z Vote?
For some members of Gen Z, this November will be the first time they cast a vote. How are they different from Millennials and other generations? According to the Washington Post, they call themselves the “mass shooting generation,” citing gun policy as a primary concern. In every demographic among Gen Z, climate change and racial injustice also rank high.
Fifty three percent of those ages 18-29 voted in the 2020 Presidential election, but midterms always have a lower turnout lower turnout. The U.S. Census Bureau finds that people in this age group represent 16% of the population, and have lower voter turnout rates than others. From 1974-2018, researchers found that those ages 18-29 cast just 12.8% of the ballots in midterm elections.
Has increased political awareness or a rise of hot issues made a difference in recent years? Most outlets focused on social issues like LGBTQ rights, abortion, racial inequality and climate change. This Pew report, for example, barely touches the economy, but spends plenty of time on issues related to gender and pronouns.
But are Gen Z voters at all concerned about the economy, like other demographics? Many are facing high gas prices, inflation and college costs with trepidation. Others have been harmed by extreme COVID policies that left them socially isolated and graduating high school at home.
“Young Americans are being left behind in Biden’s America – we’re facing skyrocketing prices, Biden’s gas hike,” said RNC Deputy Press Secretary Will O’Grady. “Meanwhile, states with Republican leadership have led the way in economic recovery and getting students back in school and young Americans back to work.”
To his point, President Biden’s approval rating has declined among young voters, even those who once supported him. Polling that the majority of voters under 45 who voted for Biden in 2020 no longer approve of him.
Nearly half of Gen Zers say that pandemic policies made their educational and professional goals harder to achieve and harmed friendships and relationships. This might also play into decisions they make regarding the election.
Other polling has shown that 2/3rds of Gen Z voters place healthcare near the top of their priority list and data reveals data reveals that this generation is more inclined to support more government help across the board. Mass shootings and mental health also make the list of major concerns for Gen Z.
With a flailing economy, exorbitant gas prices, questionable foreign policy decisions and a President who often comes across as confused, perhaps Gen Z will tilt to the Right this election season. However, since most get their news from bite-size social media videos, they may not be as deeply informed as they should be to make educated choices.
As one girl put it, “I hate to say it, but I’d rather watch a two-minute video than read a long article about something.” This may not bode well for our future.
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