Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Health Care, Gay Marriage--and War?

New Poll Finds That Young Americans Are Leaning Left - New York Times

I'm a bit confused by this poll on the attitudes of people my age. Apparently, Americans ages 17-29 are "more likely than the general public to favor a government-run universal health care insurance system, an open-door policy on immigration and the legalization of gay marriage, according to a New York Times/CBS News/MTV poll. The poll also found that they are more likely to say the war in Iraq is heading to a successful conclusion."

What? So young Americans can read the writing on the wall regarding the failure of private health insurance, are fair-minded enough to allow gay marriage, and feel more charitable than I do about letting people into the country (although the pollsters didn't ask about illegal immigrants, because the NYT apparently pretends, as a habit, that this distinction makes no difference). And yet young people think the war is going well? This revelation made me curious about the actual numbers behind the article assertions, so I dug a little deeper.

And the data buried beneath this supposedly meaningful story aren't as pretty as the headline. On gay issues, for instance, the left-leaning young are surprisingly illiberal. More youngsters believe being gay is a choice--43% to 34%--and 70% of them think that most people they know wouldn't vote for a gay or lesbian for president. (74% think the folks they know wouldn't vote for someone who has used cocaine--maybe they haven't heard of Barack Obama, not to mention our current president.)

Results like these make me glad to be aging out of the constraints of the survey soon. Sadly, the people whose opinions are reflected by this survey are the same people I'll be working with and living around for the rest of my life.

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