According to the GenForward survey, released today by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago and the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, young Americans are increasingly supportive of two major progressive causes: the Black Lives Matter movement and transgender people being able to use the bathroom of their gender identity.
The survey, conducted over the phone and online in English and Spanish, included 1,996 young adults nationally aged 18–30 and found that 51% said they support the Black Lives Matter movement while 32% said they oppose. Another 16% said they didn't know enough about Black Lives Matter to support or oppose. The survey authors, Cathy J. Cohen, Matthew D. Luttig, and Jon C. Rogowski, wrote that the increasing visibility of police brutality against black people is likely contributing to that support:
The issue of police brutality has also drawn the attention of the public as The Movement for Black Lives and The Black Lives Matter Movement have demanded that the country acknowledge and address the killing of primarily young black people by the police. This is an issue that historically many African Americans understood to be critical, but videos of such abuse along with organizations now mobilized around the issue have drawn increased public attention to this topic.
But support for Black Lives Matter was still divided along racial lines, the survey found: just 41% of young white people said they supported it, compared to 84% of young black people. Here's the breakdown:
How presidential candidates say they will address police brutality proved an important factor in voting habits for one in five young black Americans, and less important for young people of other races, the survey found: 21% of black people rate police brutality among the top three issues for them in deciding who they might vote for in the presidential election, compared to 2% of Asian Americans, 6% of Latinxs, and 6% of white people.
Racism was one of the top three issues for 34% of young black Americans, compared to 16% of Latinxs, and 14% of Asian Americans. Just 5% of young white people said racism was one of their top three issues in deciding who to vote for. "Across all of these indicators we continue to find stark differences between millennial Whites and African Americans," the survey authors wrote. "The United States has much progress to make to achieve a more racially progressive society."
The survey also looked at young peoples' attitudes toward transgender people. Specifically, the survey asked whether people who identify as transgender should be allowed to use public restrooms of the gender they identify with or the gender they were assigned at birth, in light of North Carolina's controversial "bathroom bill" and other states, including Texas, considering similar measures. More people (47%) supported trans peoples' right to use the bathroom of their gender identity than those who said they don't (36%) or those who said they didn't know (18%). More than half of those surveyed said they didn't know a transgender person themselves:
Support for Hillary Clinton for president among 18–30 year olds varies among different racial groups, the survey found: 64% of young black Americans had a favorable opinion of her, compared with 55% of Asian Americans, 49% of Latinxs, and 26% of young white people. Of young people who said they had supported Bernie Sanders during the primaries, just half said they will support Clinton in the general election. And given the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, 71% of those surveyed said they would want a third party candidate to run.
The survey was conducted between June 14 and June 27 this year, and is the first in a series of monthly surveys being conducted by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago and the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.