TRENDS IN YOUTH OPINION: As John Judis and Ruy Teixera recently argued in the Prospect "Generation Y" voters are trending heavily progressive. A New York Times/CBS News/MTV poll released a few days ago would seem to support their contention. A few highlights from the Times article:
Young Americans appear to lean slightly more to the left than the general population: 28 percent described themselves as liberal, compared with 20 percent of the nation at large. And 27 percent called themselves conservative, compared with 32 percent of the general public.
Forty-four percent said they believed that same-sex couples should be permitted to get married, compared with 28 percent of the public at large. They are more likely than their elders to support the legalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana.
This would seem to suggest, as I've argued before, that Democrats would be wise to take more forthrightly progressive stances on questions like gay marriage and reforming our draconian drug crime laws. Young people are voting in greater numbers than ever before, and they're open to sensible policies that were heretofore off-limits to mainstream politicians.