Youth Vote 2012: 5 Issues Millennials See Differently From Older Voters


This year, as people head to the polls, millennials are wondering what their future will be like and if the candidate they vote for will deliver what he promises. There is uncertainty about which candidate is the best choice, even with the election only three days away. Here are five of the ways in which millennials are looking at this election differently than older voters.

1. Climate Change:

(photo: Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Pier)

This is a topic that has been thrown around heavily, especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The truth is that millennials care about the future a great deal, because they know they are the future. Millennials also know that if one wants to make a difference, one must start now. In the past some have said that millennials do not care as much about climate change as previous generations did, though today millennials are seeing that they must take action and do so quickly.

2. Unemployment:

(photo by: Pop Culture Geek)

This has been said time and again: recent college graduates still struggle to find work. Being out of work may be a worry for many people, and millennials fear that things are getting worse rather than better. According to the non-profit group, Generation Opportunity, the unemployment rate in September hit 11.8%. This is important to consider, not only as indicative of the current job market but also at the current state of the economy. The country needs someone who can not only bring a change to the economy, but bring hope for millennials. A Pew Research study found that millennials are on track to become the most educated generation in American history, mostly due to the 20-somethings enrolling in graduate schools or other colleges because they can’t find work. 

3. National Debt:

(Photo by: Weekly Dig)

There are only a small amount of millennials who actually care what happen regarding the national debt. As this op-ed in the Daily Caller points out, the best way for millennials to get involved is through grassroots organizations such as the Citizen’s Petition to Fix the Debt. Now is as great a time as any to take a stand against the debt crisis, and to take charge of the future. No one wants to be dealing with debt on their shoulders, not too mention all those college loans to pay off. Millennials should not forget about this issue, as it does affect them. Millennials need to think long and hard about making and effort to care about a different economy for the next generation.

4. Immigration Reform:

(Photo by: Sasha Kimel)

Millennials make up a diverse group of people, all with very different ideas. Immigration is a real issue which affects many millennials and the need to stay a part of a “melting pot” of different people. As this op-ed in The National Journal points out, for most millennials immigration is as real as their parents, neighbor, or classmate. One out of five millennials has an immigrant parent, 51% also believe that their neighborhood should be “immigrant friendly” which is in stark contrast to previous generations.

5. LGBTQ Rights:

(Photo by: Jennifer)

Millennials tend to support social issues which affect them and their peers. In a Huffington Post vote for youth issues poll same-sex marriage came in with 55 % of the vote. Looking at this example, i's easy to see just how much of an effect this particular issue has on millennial voters. Of course, the feelings regarding this topic can be sensitive but on the whole it differs from that of older voters. This small infographic shows how millennials feel about the topic based on their political affiliations.

Everyone has different issues that they are thinking about as well. As this article points out, yes millennials were more excited in 2008. But since then, they have become more realistic about the future.