What Do We Know About Young Voters
Young people today are quite removed from politics. They frequently do not vote and often are uninformed on the issues. Teachers might present the following facts in class and ask what effects they have on students' political attitudes.
Sources: Gallup Poll Monthly, January 1996; S. MacManus, Young v. Old, Westview, 1996; R. Nelson and J. Cowan, Revolution X: A Survival Guide for Our Generation, Penguin, 1994; Democracy's Next Generation, Peole for the American Way, 1989; M. Delli-Carpini and S. Keeter, What Americans Know About Politics and Why It Matters, Yale University Press, 1996; N. Signorielli, A Sourcebook on Children and Television, Greenwood, 1991; Gallup Poll Monthly, November 1992.
- About half of all 18 to 24 year olds volunteer in civic or social organizations at least one day a year.
- 37% of young voters believe that President Clinton is telling the truth about Whitewater vs. 44% of those over 65 years of age.
- When asked "What is the most important duty of citizenship?" most young people say it is to help the needy (vs. vote regularly, abide by the law, or have pride in one's country).
- 3% of German children live in poverty compared to 20% of American children.
- Programs like KidsVote, First Vote, and MTV's "Choose or Lose" were created expressly to get young people involved in politics. ("Rock the Vote" provides voter registration information at 1-800-REGISTER.)
- 88% of children's television programs discuss nature, 42% have business themes, 66% discuss science, 36% treat supernatural forces...but only 13% mention politics.
- An election-eve poll of young voters in 1992: 44% Bush, 38% Clinton; their parents' generation: 39% Bush, 41% Clinton,; their grandparents' generation: 34% Bush; 51% Clinton.
- 34% of 18 to 24 year olds call themselves liberals, 41% moderates, and 25% conservatives.
- People born between the years 1961-1981 are commonly known as the Thirteenth Generation (it being the 13th generation since the founding of the U.S.)
- Young people today are more knowledgable about the Bill of Rights than members of their parents' and grandparents' generations.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM || YOUNG VOTERS || DISCUSSION || RESOURCES
HOME || EDUCATOR'S PRIMER || CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES || CHOICE '96 WEB SITE
| WGBH Home | PBS Home