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Under-30 Poll: Govt. Inefficient But It Has Key Role to Play

Under-30 Poll: Govt. Inefficient But It Has Key Role to Play

By Adam O'Neal - July 10, 2014

A new survey sponsored by the libertarian-leaning Reason Foundation shows that adults under 30 have mixed feelings about the government’s role in daily life. The respondents were generally skeptical of government’s efficiency but still believed that it should play a role in reducing inequality and providing services like health care and education. 

Two-thirds of those surveyed believe that government is inefficient and wasteful. And it appears that such pessimism is on the rise: Just 42 percent described government as wasteful and inefficient five years ago. 

Some 58 percent of those under 30 “are convinced government agencies abuse their powers.” Additionally, 63 percent believe that government regulators, in particular, abuse their powers. 

Majorities also favor reducing regulations and the size of government, as well as distributing wealth “according to achievement.” 

However, the results don’t necessarily suggest that young voters are a lock for anti-government politicians. 

While 73 percent of respondents said they favor privatizing Social Security, 69 percent believe that “it is the government’s responsibility to provide everyone with health care insurance.” More than half view the Affordable Care Act favorably.

Additionally, young voters tend to agree with the Obama administration on a host of policies, with majorities favoring: raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, spending more on infrastructure, and raising taxes on the wealthy. 

Just 27 percent said they were “social conservatives,” significantly lower than the 62 percent that identified as “social liberals.” The gap between economic conservatism and liberalism was significantly lower: 36 percent to 49 percent. 

Three-quarters of respondents say they plan on voting in the midterm elections (though history would suggest their turnout will be significantly lower). Those who plan on voting favor Democrats over Republicans, 53 percent to 29 percent. 

The results coincide with the release of a new Rasmussen survey that shows just 29 percent of likely voters believe “America’s best days are in the future -- the lowest percentage since 2006. 

Fifty-two percent of voters in the Rasmussen poll believe “the country’s best days are behind us,” compared to just 48 percent in April. About one in five voters isn’t sure. 

The Reason-Rupe survey of 2,000 under-30 adults was conducted Feb. 28-March 11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. 

The Rasmussen poll of 1,000 likely voters was conducted July 7-8 and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

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Adam O'Neal is a political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at aoneal@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearAdam.

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