In a bit of disappointing, albeit not all that surprising, news, a poll conducted jointly by The Wall Street Journal and NBC News revealed that younger Americans no longer value traditional ideals like patriotism, religion or even having children.
As the Journal noted, the findings of the poll are going to make it exceedingly difficult for 2020 presidential candidates to find a unifying message when there appears to be a chasm of ideological differences based on age.
The poll then focuses on three distinct age demographics. It categorizes Generation Z/Millennials as 18-38 year-olds, Generation X as 39-54 year-olds and Boomers/Silent as 55-91 year-olds.
— Chris Mehl (@ChrisMehl7) August 25, 2019
The Journal noted that when the poll was first conducted 21 years ago, “strong majorities picked the principles of hard work, patriotism, commitment to religion and the goal of having children.”
In 2019? Only hard work remains a common value held in high esteem by Americans today. To be fair, that’s certainly a good thing.
Overall, 61 percent of those surveyed still found patriotism to be “very important.”
Unfortunately, that’s down 9 percent from the 1998 iteration of the poll.
Within that, however, the generational difference becomes apparent. Nearly 80 percent of the “Boomers” generation found patriotism to be very important, while a paltry 42 percent of the “Generation Z/Millennials” generation found patriotism to be very important.
Just as startling, if not more so, 50 percent of all those who were polled found religion to be very important. That’s a 12 percent drop from the 1998 poll, an even steeper drop than patriotism.
On religion, a meager 30 percent of younger Americans value it. Compare that to the almost 70 percent of the older generation who value it.
Interestingly, no value took a sharper overall decline than having children. Overall, 43 percent of those polled described having children as important. That’s a 16 percent dip from 1998.
Once again, the difference in opinion appears to largely be a generational one. Just over 30 percent of younger Americans think having children is important, while over 50 percent of older Americans think of it as important.
This isn’t to say that there is no common ground among different age groups in America.
Community involvement and tolerance for others both enjoy high approval ratings regardless of age.
And as mentioned above, hard work still appears to be the most agreed-upon value that is considered important. It is fair to be heartened by that.
But the poll still appears to be a grim sign for a potential future in America. Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt, told the Journal that the poll still pointed to America’s future.
“There’s an emerging America where issues like children, religion and patriotism are far less important. And in America, it’s the emerging generation that calls the shots about where the country is headed,” McInturff said.
If the country is truly headed towards a godless, childless and anti-American future, that really doesn’t bode well for anyone.
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