Youth Heavily Impacted by Bad Economy Favor Less Spending, Poll Shows

By Christopher Goins | November 7, 2011 | 1:38 PM EST

Job seekers visit the Minneapolis Career Fair held Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011, in Bloomington, Minn. Fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, a positive sign that the job market is picking up a bit. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

( – While the nine percent national unemployment rate has been the main focus of political debate, the dismal economy is hitting young Americans pretty hard, a poll conducted by Generation Opportunity shows, and that poll shows the reality behind those numbers.

Generation Opportunity, a non-profit group that seeks to engage Americans of all ages who are dissatisfied with the status quo and have the willingness to create a better tomorrow, conducted a poll recently that showed the views that 18-29-year-olds have on leadership in Washington and government spending, current satisfaction with employment, and national security concerns.

“People don’t feel as though small businesses and startups are in an environment right now where the government understands what needs to get done, which is get out of the way,” said Generation Opportunity President Paul Conway. “People are frustrated, extremely frustrated.”

According to the poll, young Americans favor a smaller budget.

On the budget battle in Washington, the poll shows that 76 percent of millennials—those born between 1981 and 2000—favor a decrease in federal spending from its current level. Also, 69 percent prefer reducing spending over raising taxes on individuals in order to balance the budget, and 59 percent think the economy would grow best if Washington got out of the way.

Also, more than a third of those polled (43 percent) are not satisfied with their current level of employment, and only a third approve of President Obama’s handling of youth unemployment.

Because of the poor economy, many of these millenials will have to delay their dreams or purchases due to economic factors.

Terrorism was not the greatest threat to national security, the poll showed. Topping American national security concerns was the national debt (63 percent), energy dependency (61 percent) and indebtedness to foreign powers (50 percent) were second and third respectively. Terrorism ranked fourth among national security concerns.

Conway said that leaders on both sides of the aisle should stop talking to people inside Washington and instead get out in the field more and talk to small businesses, young entrepreneurs, and young executives—those doing the job creation.

If the leaders in Washington did, then they would likely say that “overregulation” and “overspending” and “a future that looks like more and more debt and higher and higher taxes does not create the confidence among those who create jobs.”

Unlike the Occupy Wall Street crowd half of these millenials agree that if taxes on business profits were reduced, companies would more likely hire.

“You don’t hear much about that in the mainstream news,” Conway said. “You know when people are trying to tell the story of what people at Occupy Wall Street theater demonstrations are saying, but the fact is that those young adults 18 to 29 are pretty smart.”

Conway expressed that millenials are “wide open” and “nobody has a lock on them” in terms of politicians who could influence them.

“If you go out and ask a generation, as was asked three years ago, come give me your support and give me your vote because you count. And you create a set of expectations for economic change, and it does not happen, then it should be of no surprise to you that those who came and supported you are now completely in play for leaders in either party to pick up, because you’re creating this dissatisfaction and dissonance among the very people you made promises to,” he continued.

Six hundred millennials were polled nationwide from April 16 to 22. The margin of error is plus or minus four percent.