The Importance of Generation Y

Generation Y, defined by the census as those Americans born between 1977 and 1994, is the largest American generation since the Baby Boomers. In fact, it is almost exactly the same size as the Baby Boom generation, and may soon be the largest of all. It also now forms the entire 18-29 year voting demographic that we see on exit polls. In 2006, Generation Y made up 12% of the electorate, and broke for Democrats 60%-39%. Democrats also hold an enormous, double-digit lead in partisan identification among this age group. In 2004, that advantage was 39%-28%. In 2006, it had increased further to 41%--28%.

This is important because if someone develops a voting pattern at a young age, that person is likely to continue voting that way throughout her or his life:Continuing a trend that began in the mid-1990s, young voters once again disproportionately identified themselves as liberals and gave a supermajority to Democrats. Unless basic findings of political science have been repealed, these formative experiences of early adulthood are likely to influence electoral behavior throughout the life of this cohort. Generation X (1965-1976), has pretty much passed the age where formative voting experiences are developed. However, it is a small generation, and while it leans Democrat (and is more liberal than older generations, as conservatives only hold an eight-hold ideological self-identification edge), it is nowhere near the level of progressive generation that is still under the age of thirty. In a rather stunning statistic, ideological self-identification among Gen Yers actually slightly favors liberals, despite a double-digit gap for conservatives within the nation as a whole. This is a generation that is also only 61% white, and less than 40% white Christian. In short, it does not cohere with the ideological or identity tendencies of the modern conservative movement at all.

Given its enormous size, if Generation Y grows to voting and political maturity with the same ideological and partisan tendencies it currently displays, it will entirely transform the national political environment by serving as the backbone of by far the most progressive governing majority America has ever experienced. How do we make that happen? The battle can actually be nearly won in less than two years time, if Democrats nominate a candidate loved by young people, and if that nominee becomes President. Consider the following:Speaking as a political scientist.... Generally speaking, the "you get more conservative as you get older" myth really is a myth. People's ideological/partisan identification don't change much after the age of 30. If someone votes for the same party three times in a row, they're hooked for life. It takes some earth-shattering to change after that.

People don't get more conservative as they get older, but they do get more rigid. What happens is that ideology acts as an informational screen - people shield out stuff that is inconsistent with their predispositions (which is why FOX News works). So as we get older, our attitudes get reinforced.

So liberals should NOT get happy if people who are under 30 are on the left, because the young are very volatile. But after thirty, it's smooth sailing. If the 2008 Democratic nominee becomes President, then that person will almost certainly be the Democratic nominee in 2012 as well. If that person is loved by young people, then that will make a long, 2004-2012 run where young voters broke heavily for Democrats, self-identified as Democrats, and self-identified as liberals. Thus, it will match the 1980-1988 run where young Late Boomers broke heavily for Republicans in the three Presidential landslides of that decade. When that generation grew to political maturity, it resulted in by far the most Republican-identifying generation in over half a century, the 1994 Republican landslide, and the general sense of creeping conservatism the country experienced through the 1990's and first half of our current decade. Generation Y holds the potential to do exactly the same thing for America, only in reverse, for the 2000 "teens," 2020's and 2030's. And much, if not most, of whether or not that happens will depend on what Democrats do over the next two years.

Realignments do not have to take place in just a single election. The Republican and conservative "revolution" was a slow climb, starting with the election of 1978 and ending in the election of 2002. In the 1930's, the New Deal coalition was built over the course of several elections, starting really in 1930 and continuing until 1938. Considering the demographic and political characteristics of Generation Y, the period starting in 2006 and ending in 2012 has the potential to forge a long-term, very progressive, solid-blue governing majority in America for a long time to come. Finding a potentially transformational Presidential candidate is an essential part of making this happen. Here is to hoping that at least one Democratic candidate will be able to step up and fill that role.

Tags: Demographics, Ideology, partisan self-identification, President 2008, Realignment (all tags)

Comments

47 Comments

Critical to be able to articulate a vision for...

...the future that is so real and so positive, young people will be able to see themselves living in it, see themselves benefiting from it.

by MeanBoneII 2006-12-01 10:12AM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

Hmm, so even more reason to see an HRC candidacy sunk.  Obama, Gore, Clark, or Edwards might be what this country needs... I lean towards Obama given that right now he has that Kennedy type buzz to him.

by yitbos96bb 2006-12-01 10:22AM | 0 recs
Obama? Liebermen's protege?

As a 24 year old, I remain wary of Obama.

Plus with Global Warming getting really really bad and bird flu and the like continuing it's becoming ever-harder to see that future no matter how inspiring your speeches are--or at least to see yourself surviving to get to it.

by MNPundit 2006-12-01 12:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama? Liebermen's protege?

Obama was one of the first Senators to urge action on bird flu. He was pushing it almost as soon as he took office and before it was national news.

by curtadams 2006-12-01 12:40PM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

Wow! Thanks for linking to my comment! I was reading it and said "gee, that sounds really familiar...."

by thirdestate 2006-12-01 10:40AM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

Realignments do not have to take place in just a single election

I would go much further with that statement. Realignments never happen in even a few elections. It takes years; it's just that sometimes it shows up in one election (as in NH this year).

The one main takeaway I had from my first experience in the upper management of a campaign was the really high level of inertia in politics. I knew that intellectually, but it's hard to really feel it until you experience it. Things basically never change quickly in politics barring a truly shattering experience, like 9/11. If someone like Carol Shea-Porter seems to come out of nowhere, you can bet there were a pretty large number of races and political events that prepared the ground.

People just aren't that persuadable in the short run. There are too many filters to pass through, too many biases to overcome. And organizational strength matters and doesn't happen over-night.

So, yeah, the next 2-4 years could cement a Democratic/progressive majority for a long time. It should be a focus of the Democratic effort.

by BriVT 2006-12-01 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

I, a member of Generation Y, would jut like to reinforce the point that my generation is at least much more socially liberal than previous generations. I am from Clay County Florida, whose Democratic registration hovers around 25%, and I just have to say that I was shocked to hear the overwhelming liberal consensus on social issues in my high school. A large majority of students are pro-choice and even willing to accept gay marrige. I would also like to say that, at least from what I have seen, the increase in liberalism has really only limited itself to social issues. My peers, at least my peers from back home as I am in college now, are still reluctant to support liberal fiscal policies. Hopefully this can be changed.

Also, everybody my age in Clay County loves Obama. It's kind of wierd but whatever. I am more of a Gore guy myself.

by nibit25 2006-12-01 10:43AM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

Re gay marriage, my 21-year-old nieces just accept it and can't understand why anyone has a problem with it. Which gives me hope for the future.

by joyful alternative 2006-12-01 05:38PM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

When younger people don't vote, the inevitable reason they give is that "both parties suck" or "they're both the same" or "things won't change anyway."

Well, that is why it's going to take a non-triangulating politician to win these young turks over in 2008.  Someone with a bold vision for change.  

There's a reason I have abandoned Mrs. Clinton for 2008.  Though I would vote for her if she won the nod, something tells me she would be the same as her husband was if elected and would run the same milquetoast Rahm and Carville-like campaign.

In retrospect, I feel that Bill Clinton was a failed president.  I was born in 74 for am a younger Xer.  He had so much promise.  Sure, the economy was good, but that stuff comes and goes.  lasting changes are things like shiny new federal programs like something for healthcare and/or the environment or workers' rights.  Clinton did none of that.  

Now, one could argue that he lost the congress in 1994 so was hampered his last six years.  Well, no, I don't take that excuse.  If he had any balls, he still could have done some things.  Also, Bill Clinton single-handedly dismantled our majorities in Congress because he was one of the most selfish presidents in history.  Everything was about him.  He never worked very hard to maintain congressional majorities, preferring to throw them under the bus for his own skin.  In fact, he oftentimes ran against them, actually using them as the phantom "left" to triangulate against.  MOst congressman of the time, if they are honest, would say that Clinton never tired really hard to maintain their majorities.

No, I am sorry, but Hillary won't do shit if elected.  Unless she is inherently more liberal than her husband.  It's possible, but I doubt it.  And the people chosen for her campaign team and would like join her in governance...people like Rahm Emanuel are pussies who won't propose good ideas, are way too conservative, and are so stupid they cut they fingers off at Arby's are not very promising to that end.

by jgarcia 2006-12-01 10:46AM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

Personally I think that the focus shouldn't be on a presidential candidate.  Rather it should be on specific initiatives that help generation why.

Basically I think that my generaton has never experienced much government legislation that has helped us.  Its all pretty much baby boomer related.

What democrats (including the presidential candidate ) will have to do is propose legislation that does that.

by sterra 2006-12-01 10:47AM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

Agreed, I'm not sure the presidential candidate matters as much as demonstrating, without a doubt, that there is a difference between the two parties.  If this can be done, I think gen Y will be solidified, as well as "reclaiming" some of the GenX-ers.

A gen-x Canadian friend living in the U.S. remarked, "It's amazing how little people expect of the government".  Breaking through this gen-x learned helplessness will cement dem control for the next 10-20 years.  Demonstrating this difference will be difficult, though,
as it means breaking through the traditional media filters to change the DC CW (and we know how slowly that changes).

by aip 2006-12-01 11:15AM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

I must say, if the current situation doesn't demonstrate the difference between the 2 parties, what will? The parties are as polarized now as they have been since the civil war. This isn't the 1950's, when there wasn't "a dime's worth of difference between the two parties." From foreign policy to economics to social policy - there is almost NOTHING the parties agree on.

I'm afraid that people who say they don't participate because they don't see any difference are either just too ignorant to care or are making excuses.

by thirdestate 2006-12-01 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

I'd say that it has.  I mean after all Generation Y did vote for democrats in record numbers.

But this was to prevent things from getting worse.  It was not to make things better.

by sterra 2006-12-01 11:23AM | 0 recs
Prez

Do you have any notion of who young people would most favor for President?  I haven't seen any data about that for a while.

What worries me is that for many, the answer will be "McCain".  Liberal and Democratic as they may be, I think there are a fair number of young folks who are buying the hype about McCain (just an intuitive sense I get; I've got no data on that.)

The best innoculation I can see against this kind of threat is 1) a campaign aimed at spotlighting McCain's hypocrisy and the danger he poses to young people (in particular, he wants to send them to Iraq); and 2) a nominee who as seen as having integrity.  My guess is that Obama and Edwards, maybe Clark, and probably not Gore, are the best candidates from that viewpoint.

To my short list of exciting candidates above, I'll add Hillary Clinton.  Many in the netroots can't stand her, but I believe that young folks will be very excited if she were nominated.  She'd be the first female Presidential candidate nominated by a major party, and I don't think there's anyway you can write that off, at least among young folks.  Just a guess.

by Shai Sachs 2006-12-01 11:00AM | 0 recs
I disagree with pretty much everything you said

First off my disagreements.  I think that McCain was popular about 6 years ago and became unpopular about 2 years ago among my demographic.  He has been a big  target of the daily show, etc.

Second I think that Gore would do well and Hillary would do badly.

Gore did not do so well among the Y generation for the same reasons that Hillary wouldn't in 2008.

First woman president might make people look more favorably on her, but it wont make people vote for her.

However new Gore shows more promise.

by sterra 2006-12-01 11:15AM | 0 recs
Re: I disagree with pretty much everything you sai

I like Gore, but the crap his wife was pushing with Liberman in the 90's was awful.  I have a friend that reminded me a couple of months ago how Tipper Gore got an "Explicit Material" rating on one of Frank Zappa's albums...that didn't have lyrics!

by Ian Campbell 2006-12-01 11:37AM | 0 recs
Nope

Completely disagree.

Hillary would be a nightmare.  She is incredibly hostile to youth culture.  In her ridiculous campaign to retain her Senate seat - one in which she face no serious opposition - Hillary made it a point to attack youth culture by railing against video games in her ads.

If you want to get youth support, you need sound policies about issues like Student Debt, predatory lenders (to protect young troops), health insurance and daycare for young mothers (50% of all births are to mothers in their 20's)..

You need to speak to the aspirations of young people, not spout off technocratic policy lists.

Above all, you need to embrace youth culture.

Obama gets it.  Edwards and Clark might.  Hillary doesn't.

by Mike Connery 2006-12-01 11:23AM | 0 recs
Obama

Oops, pasted the wrong link.

Here's the real Obama link.

by Mike Connery 2006-12-01 11:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Prez

I know you were just using your "intuitive sense", but I have to say, to suggest that the most liberal voting block can't see through the "McCain hype" is dumb at best, but patronizing probably sums it up better.  I have a mutual friend working for the Romney campaign (a fellow Gen Yer, but on the minority side), and he was telling me that his people don't trust McCain either (which is why he joined Romney)

Until older generations start to trust Gen Yers and give credit for our forward thinking and generational achievements (lowest teen pregnancy rate ever, extremely low drug abuse rates, extremely low violent abuse rates, etc.), the progressive movement will be stalled and the Democratic party will not be able to cement this voting block.  

(This is exactly the hostility that Mike Connery's post over at Future Majority points out bout the Daily Kos community.)

by Ian Campbell 2006-12-01 11:32AM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

I've heard Gen Y (I'm just in the upper end) called the "echo boom", as they are mostly boomers' kids, but I don't know if that's accurate.  It would explain why Gen Y is so large.

by fwiffo 2006-12-01 11:06AM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

Thanks for this post.  I was just writing about how young voters face a hostile crowd over at Daily Kos.  It's great to see the blogosphere recognizing the power and committment of young voters and speaking positively about what we can and do contribute to the progressive movement.

Now we need to figure out how the blogosphere can help bring more young folks into the movement.

by Mike Connery 2006-12-01 11:06AM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

I am just BARELY a member of Gen Y (29), so this is very exciting.  I have already voted straight Democratic in four elections, so yes, the Dems have me for life!  My first time voting in 2000 was for Gore.  He, I think, is the most exciting candidate to my generation.  A Gore/Obama or Gore/Edwards tickets would be my choice.  

I think Hillary is exciting to a lot of young people, just not me.  Her being the first woman president would be extremely important, I think.  I'll vote for her if she's the nominee, she's just not my first choice (or second or third).  

by IsThisOverYet 2006-12-01 11:15AM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

William Strauss and Neil Howe identify Generation Y as a "civic" type generation analogous to the G.I. Generation of World War II.  Which is interesting since the WWII generation was the last one to really have a solidly Democratic majority, having come of age, most of them, during the Great Depression or FDR's administration.  They were strongly FDR and Truman Democrats, and the first president from the G.I. Generation was John F. Kennedy.

Subsequent generations have all had a mix of liberal and conservative tendencies.  This includes the Silent (1950s/Korean War) Generation which favors incremental change in favor of social justice but also social conformity.  This includes the Baby Boomers, a "prophet" type generation typified by an intense interest in spiritual fulfillment, which led on the one hand to the anti-Vietnam War movement and hippie movement, but on the other hand to the rise of evangelical mega-churches.  This also includes Generation X, known for being rebellious and individualistic which can and has led to progressive activism (as in the 1999 anti-WTO protests), but also for cynicism and an ironic sense of hipness which can manifest itself in some astonishingly reactionary attitudes (think "South Park Republicans").

So we basically had the solidly Democratic WWII generation followed by three generations with competing liberal and conservative tendencies.  With Generation Y we have finally come full circle to another "civic" type generation which promises to be solidly Democratic.

Strauss and Howe use slightly different dates.  Generation X was born 1962-1981, Generation Y, which they call the Millennial Generation, was born 1982 to sometime in the early '00s.

by Old Yeller 2006-12-01 11:37AM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

I am a Strauss & Howe buff too, and as a Millennial, prefer that term to Generation Y, which makes us sound like Gen X 2.0 (which I don't think is fair at all since we have so little in common with Gen X).

BTW, what's even more interesting in Strauss & Howe's work than the generational types is the "turnings"

High - a "spring" of civic renewal and optimism. Conformity is king, and "outer" achievements are valued over "inner" growth. (last High was from the end of WWII in 1945 until the JFK assassination in 1963).

Awakening - a "summer" of tumultuous spiritual and cultural revolution in which self-discovery is king, and inner starts to exceed outer in importance. (last Awakening was from the JFK assassination until Reagan's first term).

Unraveling - an "autumn" of civic decay in which institutions start to crumble and individualism is king. The perfect time for economic bubbles and celebrity media circuses. (the last Unraveling has just recently wound down, either with 9/11 or with Hurricane Katrina depending on who you believe; the previous Unraveling was during the Prohibition era and the "Roaring '20s").

Crisis - a "winter" of urgency, desperation, and necessity. Teamwork and cooperation become crucial for survival again, and the utter incompetence of government forces a cold shower realism on society in which we must throw out the old and create a new world. (we are entering this daunting era right now; the last was during the Depression and WWII)

The "turnings" are even more common-sense-ish than the generational types, and are sort of comforting in that they remind you that nothing lasts forever and that we all have to deal with certain things at certain times. It also explains a lot. I think that Hurricane Katrina, the ultimate symbol of how far down we've come, never would have happened in 1960. And likewise, you can't expect the optimism and can-do attitude of that era to be with us today; nor can you expect the material ease of the '90s to remain with us as we enter the darkest and most demanding of the four turnings.

by raginillinoian 2006-12-01 12:11PM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

Yeah, the four turnings - thanks for mentioning them.  I'm not actually convinced the Unraveling has completely wound down yet, although we're pretty clearly right on the cusp and 9/11 and Katrina were major catalysts in helping bring it to a close.  It's sort of like the early 1960s.  Cuban Missile Crisis, Berlin Wall crisis, JFK assassination, Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, Beatlemania.  It's pretty clear in retrospect that the JFK assassination was the dividing line between the High and the Awakening, but I doubt it was clear at the time and there were several other events that helped push things in that direction.

The reason I'm not convinced that the Unraveling is completely over: the culture wars are still in full swing.  When the last Crisis era started, the culture wars were called off almost immediately (symbolized by the quick repeal of Prohibition) as the country suddenly had more important problems to deal with.  As of 2006 anti-gay marriage amendments, the anti-abortion rights movement, the war on drugs, and such are still a big part of the political scene.  On the other side of the coin, the results of the 2006 elections - voters clearly rejecting much of the Republican use of culture war wedge issues - may signify that we've already turned that corner and the culture wars are rapidly coming to a close.

Personally, I can't wait for the culture wars to get off the radar screen of politics.  Like I said, we have more substantive issues to worry about.  The Katrina example you cited is a good one.  It makes me sick that we let our infrastructure and emergency response systems deteriorate to the point that Katrina happened the way it did, and it makes me sick that we allowed the divisions between rich and poor grow so great that the poor were left to fend for themselves during Katrina.

by Old Yeller 2006-12-01 12:47PM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

I would say that the culture wars are pretty much over. And remember, we may have entered Crisis, but still have some Unraveling carryover as it is early yet. We still have probably 5 years before the struggles of our new era really present themselves. And it's not unheard of for Unraveling-ish media circuses to have brief resurgences in a Crisis. The Lindbergh  baby kidnapping was in 1938, and that pretty much captured the nation even though we were clearly deep into Crisis by that point, with the Depression on its last legs.

The old culture war issues don't have the juice they once did. Abortion and gay marriage didn't figure into any major races this year (despite desperate efforts by the Republicans). The gay marriage amendment failed, again, this year, and this time, unlike in '04, got almost no media coverage. None.

I think the culture wars indulgences have peaked out and we are in the early stages of Crisis, the 21st century equivalent of circa-1932. 9/11 is in my mind the earliest possible catalyst, with Hurricane Katrina being the definitive "aha!" social moment clarifying the turning shift.

by raginillinoian 2006-12-01 01:01PM | 0 recs
To continue this

We need to identify

CONSERVATIVE = REPUBLICAN = CLOSED-MINDED = RELIGIOUS FANATIC = ANTI-SCIENCE = ANTI-WOMAN = SOUTHERN = ANTI-PROGRESS

by dataguy 2006-12-01 11:49AM | 0 recs
Re: To continue this

Why throw "Southern" in there? There are many liberal, decent Southerners who deserve your support.

by joyful alternative 2006-12-01 05:50PM | 0 recs
Charting the Data on Gen Y/Millenials

Thought I'd bring these back into the conversation:

Party Identification by Generation:
Party Affiliation by Generation

Young Voters Favor Democrats in 2006:
WAVE2

If the 2004 election were decided only by voters under 30:
future majority

by Mike Connery 2006-12-01 11:50AM | 0 recs
Another meme

REPUBLICAN = CONSERVATIVE = BANK SUPPORTER = ANTI-EDUCATION = HIGH COST OF SCHOOL = LOW SUPPORT FOR GRANTS

by dataguy 2006-12-01 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

Wait, I'm a Gen Xer?  Ah crap, as if I don't feel bad enough about turning 30 already.  C'mon, can't we add 1976 to Gen Y?  You'll make an old man happy. . .

by Jim Treglio 2006-12-01 12:06PM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

Is there any polling on presidential favorites exclusively among voters of gen Y?
Who do you love?

In terms of McCain, etc, one thing to focus on is making sure these voters in particular stay well-informed about potentially hip Repub candidates, so they don't swing that way.

by jimpol 2006-12-01 12:08PM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

So how do we know that voters tend to keep their ideology once a pattern is set in their youth?

I seem to recall the Baby Boomers spent the Sixties as the most radical, liberal generation our country had yet seen, embracing change and social justice in waves.

A dozen years later, they were yuppies for Reagan.

by admiralnaismith 2006-12-01 12:44PM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

Well, yeah, but there were conservative Boomers in the 1960s and liberal Boomers in the 1980s too.  Our perception is partly a matter of who the media at the time chose to focus on.  Some people change their political views as they age, some stay the same or grow stronger in their existing views.

by Old Yeller 2006-12-01 01:05PM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

even in the liberal and tumultuous sixties, the majority of people who actually voted were conservatives (being of noth Democratic and Republican affiliation).  The hippies and anti-war folks were a loud minority.  Sometimes I wish we'd have the same thing now.  I'd be at all the protests.  :(

Remember Nixon won in 1968 and was re-elected in the largest landslide in US history.

by jgarcia 2006-12-01 02:07PM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

how do we know that voters tend to keep their ideology once a pattern is set in their youth?
There is an abundance of data on this and other related phenomena. Ideology isn't the only thing that is set at this time- our memories from our lives also solidify at this time of life (A phenomonon known as the Reminiscence Bump).

I wrote my masters thesis on this subject, so if you're intersted you can read it here (here are the two most relevant sections):
Keys to a Future Majority - Reminiscence Bumps, Collective Memory, and Generations
Keys to a Future Majority - The Agenda-Setting Effect, Priming, And Youth Voting

The first of the two is the most relevant and if you use google scholar you can follow the sources I cite to find an abundance of information on this subject.

by Alex Urevick 2006-12-01 03:58PM | 0 recs
I'm glad this happened before I died

I graduated from high school in 1965. By 1975, I realized that the people just a few years younger had turned into pricks.

As I got older, the voters behind me became worse and worse, ultimately voting in huge numbers for a president who kicked off his campaign on the graves of dead civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Miss.

Unless you've been there, you don't know how nasty it is to see young people with no ideals just as you are beginning to lose your own.

In my late middle age, I deserve the luxury of being a little more conservative than somebody. I have a lot I can teach younger voters, but I'd rather learn from them.

by stevehigh 2006-12-01 02:09PM | 0 recs
I'm glad this happened before I died

I graduated from high school in 1965. By 1975, I realized that the people just a few years younger had turned into pricks. As I got older, the voters behind me became worse and worse, ultimately voting in huge numbers for a president who kicked of his campaign on the graves of dead civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Miss.

But the last six elections have shown the growing presence of younger voters discernably more liberal and less self-centered than has been evident in many years.

My sense is that these voters will be motivated more by principles than personalities. I think it matters less whom the Democrats nominate than what the party stands for.

I hope there are lot more left-leaning voters in the middle-school/high school pipeline. There is nothing wrong with the Democrats tha

In my late middle age, I should have the luxury of being a little more conservative than somebody.

After enduring four decades with only two Democratic administrations, it's about time.

by stevehigh 2006-12-01 02:09PM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

Please stop calling my generation "generation Y". We prefer the name Millenials, or if you must, Echo-boomers.

by katie98kt 2006-12-01 02:19PM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

Because you/we all drive Toyota Echoes? I don't get it.

by lightyearsfromhome 2006-12-01 03:08PM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

My personal experience backs this up, BTW. At highschool in my (highly conservative) hometown, it was worth your life to be considered a 'fag' fifteen years ago. This has completely changed. Teenagers are much more open about sexual preferences, and it's much less stigmatizing.

by lightyearsfromhome 2006-12-01 03:14PM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

I wonder about the conclusion that early political preferences are set for life. Did whoever reached that conclusion analyze voting patterns of voters who came of age in the late 1960s and 1070s? And what about women, who seem to become more conservative once they are married? Just asking.

by fgingerich 2006-12-01 07:59PM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y
Generation Y will probably end up becoming a modern day New Deal type block.  
By all rights according to the CW is that as a married, white and older person I should adore Reagan, be conservative and think Bush is swell.  Well, not really.  I am the opposite where I never voted republican.  
The conservative trending over the past years (seems like forever) has been oppressive to me.
I am excited about the generation that is coming up and will replace the divisive and selfish baby boomers.  I hope whoever ends up being the representive model for them in a president will live up the excitement this Y generation promises.
Like FDR was the defining president for that generation and others to come.
by vwcat 2006-12-01 08:29PM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

The problem with our generation is that we are fairly liberal on social issues but think that those issues are stupid and shouldn't be a part of politics and then check out. No one among my generation is thinking about unions or taxes, just gay marriage and abortion, which leads them away from politics.

by CT student 2006-12-01 08:51PM | 0 recs
Who Decides When the Generational Divides Are?

I've heard that Gen-X went from 1965-1980, and 1965-1979, now you say it is 1977?

Why? Since it is an abitrary decision, why set the end date for Gen-X so short? What is the rational for this?

by Davidsfr 2006-12-02 05:35AM | 0 recs
65-76

Davidsfr wrote:

"I've heard that Gen-X went from 1965-1980, and 1965-1979, now you say it is 1977?

Why? Since it is an abitrary decision, why set the end date for Gen-X so short? What is the rational for this?"

That's because it's not a real generation. No matter what sets or length of years you use to define one, there has to be some sort of scale to make comparisons between different generations. You can't honestly take an 11 year span and then compare it to every other generation if you rate them at full 18-20 year spans.  

Yet a few marketers have continued to push this definition.

Personally as someone born in 76, the 65-76 definition has been a bane to me. It doesn't make sense biologically, culturally, or socially and every argument made for it's existence that I've found turns out to be faulty. It appears to me to be a way to isolate and marginalize an entire segment of the population.

Of course there are also those who use this span because they don't know better since they may have seen it published somewhere. Yet I can only imagine that the reason for it's creation was due to some yuppy who resented the small backlash in the early 90's against the excesses of the 80's, or people born during this time who want to cherry pick their own little generation based only on their exact viewpoint.  But unfortunately this marginalization also has real world consequences. Those experts who use this span in comparison to full size generations send out a message that these people are to be segregated and ignored in every aspect of society. Why not shrink one generation to one year and compare it to a 39 year long generation, gleefully announcing their insignificance?

From my study in this subject over the years I have noticed what seems to be three seperate types of generations. These are cultural, social, and biological. There are also experts such as Toulon or Jonathan Pontell who divide the generations into roughly 10 year spans, which I have no problem with. This is because they also view the generations in scale.

Finally I do have to disagree about the Census offically recognizing any date. Over the years I have heard claims of various definitions being the official view of the US census. Yet everytime I've tracked down their source, it turns out not to be the actual US census but rather a secondary source using census data. That's because from what I understand they don't get into generational recognizations due to it's subjective nature. The only exception may refer to the actual demographic babyboom.    

Respectfully, Wayne

by Echo Nomad 2007-01-01 07:24PM | 0 recs
Re: The Importance of Generation Y

1977 is the start date for Gen Y (college class of 2000), which makes sense. Strauss and Howe state 1977 as the first year of Gen Y as well.

The millenials start at 1982, which makes sense as well, although I think 1982-84/85 are cusper millenials, and 1986 and beyond are the core millenials.

Those born in 1982-85 grew up in and more solidly identify with the pre-internet age of the 80's and early 90's.
They grew up with and identify more with the earliest born members of Gen Y, late 70s-early 80s born ('77-'81).

Going back further, and 1977-81 is also the true gen x/millenial cusper group. They can relate to both generations; they feel apart of both the 90's and the 00's culture, and were impressed by the anticipation, excitement/angst for the approaching new millenium and its offerings, back in the late 90's.

This group ('77-'84) sees this time as their "era" to shine as young adults.

Much of the behavior and trends of the millenials were started by the early Gen Yers in the late 90s and early 2000s (young entrepreneurship (internet companies), musical and cultural tastes, fashion styles, etc.)

Gen Y is currently under 30 (or just beginning to turn 30 this year) in the late '00s decade. They are the current 18-30yr old young adult age group, and today's pop culture icons.

Famous first-born Gen Y members (that immediately come to mind):

Kanye West (b. 1977)
Usher Raymond (b. 1978)
Cold Play (b. 1978)
Kirsten Dunst (b. 1982)
John Krasinski (b. 1979) ("the office")
B.J Novak (b. 1979) ("the office")

This generation is the focus of today's presidential election because there are so many of them, and they tend to be democratic.

They will be the ones to vote Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton into the presidency in 2008, and change the world.

Thanks

by jjj180 2007-08-05 08:42AM | 0 recs

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