Poll Examines Attitudes Of Millennial Generation
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
Andrew Kohut is the president of the Pew Research Center, and a frequent guest here, joins us once again. Hi.
ANDREW KOHUT: Happy to be here, Robert.
SIEGEL: Give us a thumbnail sketch of the millennials.
KOHUT: They're very tolerant of gays and race...
SIEGEL: And a very diverse group.
KOHUT: And they're very diverse.
KOHUT: Many people, not just whites, I think only 60 percent of this generation is white. They have a positive view of government - a more positive view of government, at least, than other generations. And they even supported higher rates, relatively higher rates, such things as affirmative action with preferential treatment for minorities.
SIEGEL: You said that millennials are big believers in values as well.
KOHUT: They are. They look at - to themselves and they say, our generation is quite different than our parents' generation. But they don't say it with any rancor. What they say is they're unlike baby boomers who had this great dispute with their parents about values. The millennial generation say older people have better moral values, have better work ethic. The only thing they criticize the older generation for is their lack of tolerance.
SIEGEL: Who raised these terrific kids, Andy?
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
KOHUT: People your age actually, Robert. Thank you for...
SIEGEL: Now, to be clear here, Pew is not just comparing the millennials to other age groups today, but you're looking with what they say compared to what boomers said in the late '70s or what Gen Xers said in the 1990s.
KOHUT: They're also less religious. Not less believing. They tend to have high levels of belief, but they're not joiners.
SIEGEL: Their adult lives have witnessed two American wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and yet they don't seem terribly militaristic in their view of the world.
KOHUT: The war in Afghanistan and the call for more troops in Afghanistan was not popular, even though they're very relatively supportive of Barack Obama.
SIEGEL: Yes, you mentioned they're relatively supportive of Barack Obama, self- identify to a remarkable degree as liberals and also as Democrats. Are they among those who have also been drifting away from President Obama, the Democrats, as we've seen in so many polls?
KOHUT: You know, this is a generation that's been hard-hit by unemployment, as you mentioned. And the rate - the relationship between rising unemployment and Obama's approval ratings going down is very clear. And it's clear for this generation too.
SIEGEL: They're satisfied with the money they make, but they're also out of work.
KOHUT: Yeah, they're very confident that it's all going to work out in the end. Sixty-eight percent of them say either now or at some time in the future - mostly some time in the future - they will earn enough money to lead the kind of life they want, higher than previous generations even though they have this high level of unemployment.
SIEGEL: An optimistic group, you're saying.
KOHUT: An optimistic group.
SIEGEL: Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, thanks.
KOHUT: You're welcome.
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