- - Thursday, July 10, 2014

It’s official: The millennial generation may not know what things cost, but they know what they want.

Most millennials believe marijuana should be legalized, and they prefer lower taxes, according to a wide-ranging poll by Reason-Rupe that was released Thursday.

It surveyed 2,000 millennials between the ages of 18-29 and found that 64 percent said cutting government spending would help the economy and 59 percent want to cut taxes. Yet, an overwhelming majority said it’s the government’s responsibility to guarantee every citizen has shelter, health care and a college education.

“The most important thing to recognize with this group is that they don’t know what things cost,” explained Emily Ekins, polling director at the Reason Foundation.

She said that when millennials don’t know what something costs, the response typically is, “sure, let government do it,” but as soon as the millennial was told how much something did in fact cost, there is a flip on government action.

She asked half of the participants the standard question, “If you had to choose, would you rather have a smaller government providing fewer services, or a larger government providing more services?” Millennials usually pick a larger government with more services.

But then Ms. Ekins asked the other half of participants, “If you had to choose, would you rather have a smaller government providing fewer services with low taxes, or a larger government providing more services with high taxes?” As soon as the word taxes was mentioned, support then flipped with the majority wanting smaller government with fewer services and lower taxes.

“The individuals who flipped the most on the side of government were Hispanic and Asian millennials,” Ms. Ekins said.

Sixty-six percent of millennial voters said government is inefficient and wasteful and only 25 percent of millennials trust government agencies to do the right thing.

New York Times columnist David Leonhardt wrote this week that he believes millennials are trending toward becoming conservatives. “Some political analysts believe that teenagers are already showing less allegiance to the Democratic Party than Americans in their 20s,” Mr. Leonhardt wrote.

Still, more than half of the registered millennial voters said they plan to vote Democratic in the November 2014 elections — a decline from the 64 percent of millennials who voted for President Obama in 2012.

Ms. Ekins said this is because millennials came of age during the Bush Administration and when it comes to avoiding irresponsible spending, it isn’t obvious that Republicans are that party anymore.

Millennials picked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as their top choice for president in 2016. Mrs. Clinton was followed by Democrats Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vice President Joseph R. Biden, and lastly, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan.

Millennials said they don’t trust either political party, but prefer Democrats on such issues as gay marriage, the environment and poverty, but rely on Republicans for promoting entrepreneurship.
And when it comes to privacy, government spending, drug policy and the federal deficit, millennials trust neither party.

On other hot political issues of 2014, 71 percent of millennials favor raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, 67 percent of millennials favor legalizing same-sex marriage, 59 percent favor legalizing online gambling and 57 percent favor the legalization of marijuana.