White and minority millennials don't really agree about the direction of the country

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White and minority millennials differ starkly on their views about the future direction of the country, according to a wide-ranging new survey released Friday by the Public Religion Research Institute.


A majority of millennials between the ages of 18-35 (53 percent) think the country is currently on the wrong track. But the overall result masks the racial divide: It’s largely young, white people who have negative views about the nation’s direction.

Nearly two-thirds of white millennials surveyed in the poll said the country is heading in the wrong direction. Compare that with minority populations who think it’s going in the right direction — a whopping 71 percent of young African-Americans, 53 percent of young Latinos, and 49 percent of the young, Asian-Pacific Islander population.

What’s behind the diverging viewpoints? The PRRI points out that the results largely mirror their politics — specifically, their opinions of whether President Obama is doing a good job.

Overall, 53 percent of millennials approve of Obama’s job performance. But only 40 percent of white millennials included in the survey approve of Obama, compared with 58 percent who disapprove.

Comparatively, 87 percent of young African-Americans approve of the job Obama’s doing, along with about two-thirds of young Latinos (66 percent) and young Asian-Pacific Islanders (63 percent).

Here’s a chart from the PRRI that displays the split:

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Some other interesting, politically tinged results from the poll:

  • The most important issues for young people: Education and jobs/unemployment. 54 percent of the millennials surveyed said both were a “critical issue.” Coming in third was health care, at 51 percent.
  • Education was by far the most important issue for Latinos, with 66 percent calling it a “critical issue.”
  • 36 percent of young people surveyed say immigration is a “critical issue.” 48 percent more say it’s an important issue “among many.” Latinos (51 percent) were the most likely to call immigration “critical.”
  • 57 percent of young people surveyed consider marriage equality to be a “critical issue” or an important issue “among many.” More young white people and Latinos consider it to be a critical issue.
  • 68 percent consider climate change either “critical” or an important one “among many.” 30 percent don’t consider it an important issue.
  • Just 16 percent of young people think access to contraception is a “critical issue.” 36 percent said it was “not that important.”

The PRRI surveyed a random sample of 2,314 millennials between the ages of 18-35 in both English and Spanish to complete the survey in February.

Brett LoGiurato is the senior national political correspondent at Fusion, where he covers all things 2016. He'll give you everything you need to know about politics, with a healthy side of puns.