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Thursday, May 7, 2020

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

BIG NEWS: Current high school and post-secondary students are more likely to identify as conservative than as progressive, according to a new poll commissioned by Young America’s Foundation (YAF) and The Federalist. The poll gives us hope that the newest generation is more open to conservative ideas than are millennials.

When asked about their ideological beliefs, 30 percent said they were very or somewhat conservative while just 20 percent said they were very or somewhat progressive. That is good news as a Gallup Poll this past year showed that nearly 60 percent of adults under the age of 30 were open to socialism. Many of us suggested that respondents may not understand what it truly means to be a socialist. This latest poll seems to bolster that theory.


The largest number of students (39 percent) identified as moderates. In my mind, that is a bit of a victory. The latest poll shows that 80 percent do not identify themselves as progressives.

Every college-age student who is not a Marxist is a tremendous opportunity for us if we can get their attention and share the facts about objective American and world history, economics and financial literacy. The facts are on our side. We just have to work harder to get them to the masses.

Echelon Insights conducted the poll of 800 current high school students and 800 current post-secondary students who were sampled from the general population. The survey was conducted April 24-27, 2020.

Overall, students are very concerned about the coronavirus and are paying very close attention to coverage of the issue. Some 69 percent are worried that they might get infected and 80 percent are worried a family member might get it.

When it comes to who is to blame, there is a major fault line between the opinions of students still in high school and those who are past high school. A plurality of high school students at 48 percent blame China for the coronavirus while just 41 percent of the students that are post-high school say the same.

Conversely, 48 percent of post-high school students believe that the coronavirus crisis is our own government’s fault for not responding properly versus 40 percent of the high school students. Overall, 52 percent of high school students believe China is a threat while just 39 percent of the students who are already past high school feel the same way.

These results regarding feelings about China seem to be a reflection of the negative impact on students by the many left-wing professors at our colleges and universities. It is yet another reminder of why it is so important to help young people establish solid political beliefs at a younger age with exposure to solid conservative ideas.

A majority (54 percent) of students selected “smaller government with fewer government programs and lower taxes” versus “larger government with more government programs and higher taxes (27 percent).” That is good news.

At the same time, however, a plurality (43 percent) said that we need more government programs to maintain our way of life in the United States over the next 10 years versus just 35 percent who said fewer government programs. Like many Americans of all ages, it appears some students are open to government programs that preserve their way of life yet dislike higher taxes to pay for them.

This is a false choice. During my time as governor, we showed that you don’t have to choose between cutting vital services or raising taxes. Instead, we chose reform.

People in the private sector do it all the time. They don’t dramatically cut the quality or raise the cost. If they did, it would cost their business customers. Instead, they reform the process and offer quality products at a reasonable price. Our government needs to embrace that concept.

In addition to politics, students in the poll were asked which form of social media or app they use. YouTube was the most with 79 percent followed closely by Instagram (73 percent) and Snapchat (66 percent), then Facebook (58 percent). Twitter was only identified by 44 percent of the respondents in the poll.

I was reminded of a survey by Pew Research Center that showed that just 22 percent of adults of all ages are on Twitter. Even more interesting was the observation that 80 percent of the tweets are done by a mere 10 percent of the people on Twitter. Remember that the next time someone in the “mainstream media” reports on something trending on Twitter. It is still just a small sample of America.

Finally, when asked if the federal government threatens your own personal rights and freedoms, 46 percent said yes with just 35 percent saying no. All the more reason to remember that the virtue of freedom is timeless.

• Scott Walker was the 45th governor of Wisconsin. You can contact him at swalker@washingtontimes.com or follow him @ScottWalker.


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