The Future is Bright: Millennial Voters Resoundingly Support Climate Action

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The Future is Bright: Millennial Voters Resoundingly Support Climate Action

...and gun control, and reduced prison sentences, and public transportation, and Bernie Sanders.

"As the largest generation in our nation’s history, we have the power to be the most influential force in electing our next president and our voices deserve to be an integral part of the conversation this election," said Ashley Spillane, president of Rock the Vote. (Photo: University of Minnesota)

"As the largest generation in our nation’s history, we have the power to be the most influential force in electing our next president and our voices deserve to be an integral part of the conversation this election," said Ashley Spillane, president of Rock the Vote. (Photo: University of Minnesota)

Young folks, arguably, have the most at stake in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, and could potentially hold significant sway over who gets elected. Given that, a new USA TODAY/ Rock the Vote poll out Monday revealed what the so-called "Millennial Agenda" might look like.

People between ages 18 and 34 overwhelmingly (80 percent) favor a rapid transition to clean or renewable energy by 2030 and by a ratio of more than 2-1 say the government should invest in more public transportation.

When asked to rank their top issues, the combined votes for "climate change" and "energy" placed first and foremost along with economic concerns, including jobs, minimum wage, and paid leave.

"If we don't have a place to live, then it doesn't really make sense to worry about anything else," said 34-year-old Scott McGeary of Seattle.

Millennials also widely (2-1) see police violence against Black people as problem and 76 percent want the government to require police officers to wear body cameras while on duty. More than two-thirds agree that prison sentences for people convicted of non-violent crimes should be reduced.

What's more, 82 percent of millennials want background checks for all gun purchases.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2015 the millennial generation, now numbering 75.3 million, surpassed baby boomers as the largest living generation.

Yet despite the enormous potential of this voting bloc, the survey found that only 60 percent are planning to vote in the November presidential election, while only 30 and 40 percent say they're likely to vote in the respective Republican and Democratic primaries.

If they do find their way to the polls, the survey found that young people are responding to Bernie Sanders' call for "political revolution" with 46 percent of millennial Democrats and independents backing the Vermont senator compared with 35 percent for his chief rival Hillary Clinton.

Donald Trump, with 26 percent support from millennial Republicans and independents, has the lead among young conservatives, but those numbers are lower than national polls of GOP voters.

The poll was released in conjunction with the launch of One Nation, a content and event series organized by USA TODAY and Rock the Vote to inform young voters and encourage voter registration for 2016. The survey is the first of four that will be conducted in the months leading up to the presidential election.

"As the largest generation in our nation’s history, we have the power to be the most influential force in electing our next president and our voices deserve to be an integral part of the conversation this election," said Ashley Spillane, president of Rock the Vote. 

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