Study: Millennials more conservative politically than past generations


It turns out millennials aren’t as predictable as you think — at least when it comes to political affiliation.

New research from the Journal Personality and Social Psychology suggests those born between 1980 and 1994 are more likely to be conservative than either Generation Xers or baby boomers were at the same age.


So they won’t all be voting for Hillary?


Not all of them of course but she’s far ahead of the Republican. Many voted for Bernie Sanders who is well known for his conservatism. :rolleyes: But he is actually heading out to college campuses to encourage them to vote for her though. Some say they support the Libertarian Johnson, also not someone who is exactly conservative on issues such as pot, abortion and gay marriage.

This poll breaks it down this way. Clinton 48%. Trump 23. Johnson 13. Stein 8. If the matchup were just between the Democrat and the Republican, the Democrat trumps the Republican by a whopping 56-28.

I’ve seen another poll where Johnson was second.


I’m not, and neither is my husband.

I might vote for Gary Johnson. I am not voting for Trump.

Husband is not voting for Trump either, but he’s not sure if he’ll vote for president at all. He’ll still go to the polls, but might just make selections for the other races.


I saw an article that said millennials are more socially conservative as well, but I don’t get that impression when at school. It seems like there are way more liberal students, but maybe it’s just because they’re louder about their opinions than most. But I live in a very liberal location, so perhaps it’s to be expected.


No, they won’t. I think they likely won’t vote in large numbers, just like they always have (not). Hillary will get a good chunk of them, no question. But I would not rule out a swing to conservatism in this younger generation. We are due for it in terms of generations, overdue. I drove by this Church not too far from my area on a recent Sunday (some Protestant denomination; I have no idea what) and I was struck by how young everybody was as they spilled out onto the lawn - people in their twenties, thirties, families, all dressed up the way the Protestants do on Sunday - nice, casual khaki thing if you will. :slight_smile: I looked at them and thought “Trump is going to win.” The place was packed/young. Weird (for this area), Evangelical you could say. (and don’t quote me on the Trump prediction, please - by my watch he is due for a violent hubris crash and burn right about now)


Back when I was 18, I was a staunch Conservative - a supporter of the Tory Party here in Britain. I had fiscally and socially conservative views.

In the years since, I have become somewhat more “left-wing” fiscally, while retaining a strong commercially focused outlook (pro-free trade, low corporate tax rates),and with the exception of issues of sexual morality/life (I am firmly anti-abortion/pro-life for instance), I am generally socially “liberal” nowadays on matters of immigration, climate change and so on, if one was to rate me on the American political spectrum.

The present day 24 year old Vouthon would get in a seriously heated argument with the 18 year old Vouthon were a time warp possible.

I would actually be almost like a political nemesis to my younger self. It is weird to think how much my views have changed since I was a teenager.

I would classify myself as a pro-business centrist with some serious leftist sympathies mingled with ardent Catholic moral conservatism. I’m a bit complicated politically, actually. :rolleyes:

Not surprisingly, I am a habitual floating voter these days.


I float vote too. When I was 18 I was a strong liberal, the Nation, New Republic, all that. Family tradition, no Republicans in my family except my grandfather, I guess both now that I think about it, both sides I mean. I went from liberal to conservative, late 20s, early 30s, then swung back to liberal again, then swung back to conservative again.

I think people who have genuinely committed to both sides are actually more fun to talk politics with than those who always stayed on one side. Just my opinion. I am liberal on economic issues, conservative on social stuff, foreign policy, etc. Trump is a little bit of an isolationist for me. But I can handle that I guess. I think he is closer to the center; Clinton of necessity more than inclination more far left.


I’m the exact opposite of a few here who mentioned their past political leanings.

I was a self-described “very, very liberal” person in college and now in my twenties I consider myself a conservative on most fronts. I am sympathetic to some liberal views but ultimately the modern liberal worldview is an empty, rather worthless worldview.


To me a conservative, a true one, doesn’t support same-sex mirage and abortion. To support such things would make the so-called conservative a walking oxymoron.


My political positions have largely remained unchanged in the last five years. I certainly consider myself more knowledgeable, but my knowledge base was more satisfactory then.

I was more liberal 7-10 years ago. The financial crisis first made me disillusioned with American capitalism. Then I became disenchanted with US foreign policy as I learned it was based on lies and was very inhumane and oppressive. I also learned about life in East Germany and in Hungary. It wasn’t that bad. I felt I was lied to about the history of the Soviet Union and Stalin.

I think many left-leaning individuals may consider “the modern liberal worldview” to be rather worthless. Those people are more sympathetic to revolution and socialism. Some may become Trotskyists, Marxist-Leninists, left-communists, or anarcho-communists.


This is wrong… They are not conservative. A large number of them are libertarian, not conservative

A libertarian is fiscally conservative but socially moderate or liberal.


Just as long as they take an interest and actually vote in November!


I think we have less reasons to be ‘charged up’ than previous generations because we haven’t experienced a Vietnam or a “we’re all going to die in a nuclear holocaust”. There was a point in the 1960s where half of the world’s population was living within an officially atheistic communist regime.

I’m not sure if that makes Millennials “conservative” on the whole. The abortion industry has definitely lost ground but other ethical areas not so much. I agree with Phil that it’s more of a libertarian conservatism, which is not altogether in line with Catholic social justice.“I can do whatever I feel like as long as it’s not [directly] hurting anybody else” is the new ideology. That along with disillusionment with the established system. There’s a rebirth of xenophobia taking place in some of the world, though it’s still too early to say how much it will grow.


Are you saying that the “many left-leaning individuals” become Trotskyists or that such a group (whatever you mean by ‘many’) consider such things like Trotskyists worthless?

By financial crisis do you mean the 2008 recession? Lied to about East Germany and Stalin?


When I see or hear “fiscally conservative” and “libertarian” in the same sentence, my mind automatically thinks of the libertarian view of a small government role, if any, in domestic policy.

Yet millennials were a large part of the support for (take your pick) social democrat or as he referred to himself, democratic socialist Bernie Sanders who advocated for a larger government role (single payer, free college tuition, etc).

And as well according to this survey, 54% of ages 18-29 favored keeping Obamacare in place.


Right, because the majority of millennials are still liberal. But the ones that are “conservative” are mostly libertarian and not true conservatives.

A true libertarian views that the government should stay out of social issues and leave it to the individuals and society in general. So government should stay out of the abortion issue, out of smoking bans, etc.

But also, some are true bleeding heart liberals when it comes to social issues, but they want low taxes. This has been a very consistent theme in Hollywood since it’s conception. Hollywood executives have always had this view, and still do.

They want an “anything goes” society but they don’t want to pay more taxes. They also want the govt to take care of the poor so they don’t have to see them on the streets. Also, since a large number of them are either atheist or don’t believe in organized religion, they want the govt to replace the role of the Church in regards to taking care of the poor.

Almost all atheists I have heard from who vote Republican in national elections fit the “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” idea and are really true libertarians.


Hard to know what people are nowadays.

I was a liberal Democrat as a young man. Those same beliefs would put me in the conservative Republican camp nowadays, though I’m not a Dem or a Repub.

I was thoroughly appalled at the radical leftists of my era. They were a strange bunch; totalitarian to the core and yet dedicated to getting money as well as power. (Money, after all, can be translated into power if one is inclined to that.) Ultimately, they took over the party. I stuck with it, thinking the pendulum would swing back, but then the party became wedded to abortion, and that was the end for me.

As for myself, my political beliefs are no different than they were when I was younger and an ardent Democrat. It’s just that the big money/total power/personally libertine people took it over lock, stock and barrel and made it into something really different and, to my mind, really awful. The Clintons are the very embodiment of what the party as an organization has become, though many of the ordinary supporters still think it’s the party of Truman, JFK and LBJ.

I don’t know what the millenials will end up being like. But if I had to guess, it would be a combination of personally libertine/money hungry/less totalitarian. If so, once they get enough money in their pockets, they’ll drop the redistributionist aspect of the Sanders ideology.


I think this is the article, not from the J of Personality & Soc Psych, but from the Personality and Soc Psych Bulletin:

“More Polarized but More Independent Political Party Identification and Ideological Self-Categorization Among U.S. Adults, College Students, and Late Adolescents, 1970-2015” at

Abstract: In three nationally representative surveys of U.S. residents (N = 10 million) from 1970 to 2015, more Americans in the early 2010s (vs. previous decades) identified as Independent, including when age effects were controlled. More in the early 2010s (vs. previous decades) expressed polarized political views, including stronger political party affiliation or more extreme ideological self-categorization (liberal vs. conservative) with fewer identifying as moderate. The correlation between party affiliation and ideological views grew stronger over time. The overall trend since the 1970s was toward more Americans identifying as Republican or conservative. Older adults were more likely to identify as conservative and Republican. More Millennials (born 1980-1994) identify as conservative than either GenXers or Boomers did at the same age, and fewer are Democrats compared with Boomers. These trends are discussed in the context of social identification processes and their implications for the political dynamics in the United States.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will be voting against Hillary, since she is as conservative as the typical Republicans were back decades ago, while many Republicans of today are way far to the right of yester-year’s conservatives. At least that’s my aged Boomer view of things.

I was from a Republican (Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt) family (totally against FDR) and was for Nixon back in 1968 at age 21, but by 1972 had become a liberal Democrat for McGovern. Recently with many millennials, I was for Bernie. While I’m against abortion, I am also very much concerned about climate change, plutocracy, and racism in our country.

Also re today’s millennials being conservative, I’m thinking many may have been brainwashed by the textbooks in their schools. I know in Texas the Board of Edu has made sure they support conservative anti-knowledge – evolution and climate change just some disputed ideas.


I got the article, and the stats are pretty dull compared to the newsstories about the study:

Here’s some of the stats on “American Entering College Political Views”:

Far left or liberal
1970-74: 37%
2010-2015: 31%

Middle of the road
1970-74: 47%
2010-2015: 47%

Far right or conservative
1970-74: 16%
2010-2015: 22%

So it seems there was only an increase in conservative from 16% to 22%, while liberal decreased from 37% to 31%, but still stayed greater than conservative.

And here are the whopper stats on the increased polarization of American Entering College views, with both the far left and far right gaining since the 1970s, but the far right gaining a tad more (1% more or a more than doubling from the whopping .7% to 1.7%), but still less than the far left at a whopping 2.8% in 2010-15:

Far left
1970-74: 2.5%
2010-2015: 2.8%

Far right
1970-74: .7%
2010-2015: 1.7%

Our kids are still pretty good, not many going overboard in either far-out direction!

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