NY Times/CBS/MTV poll backs Media Matters' findings of a growing progressive majority

››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

A new poll by The New York Times, CBS News, and MTV has found that younger Americans are, in the Times' words, "leaning left." The poll further validates the findings of a recent report by Media Matters for America and the Campaign for America's Future, which documented the existence of a progressive majority in the United States.

Among the results of the Times/CBS/MTV poll of Americans ages 17 to 29, conducted June 15-23:

  • 68 percent support either gay marriage or civil unions for homosexual couples.
  • 62 percent favor "[h]aving one health insurance program covering all Americans that would be administered by the government and paid for by taxpayers," compared to 32 percent who prefer "[k]eeping the current system where many people get their insurance from private employers and some have no insurance."
  • 54 percent believe global warming "should be one of the highest priorities for government leaders," while a total of 89 percent of those polled consider global warming to be a "serious" or "very serious" problem.

These findings are in line with the June 2007 report by Media Matters and the Campaign for America's Future, which documented that Americans as a whole are progressive across a wide range of controversial issues and are growing more progressive. For example, as the report noted, starting with the pre-boomer generation born before World War II, each successive generation is more progressive on the issue of gay rights than was the generation before it.

Moreover, researchers have noted this generational shift with regard to a range of other issues. As the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press explained in a report released March 22 based on its wide-ranging public opinion surveys:

The decline in social conservatism is being hastened by generational change, as each new age cohort has come into adulthood with less conservative views on the questions than did their predecessors. The biggest generation gap is between the Baby Boomers and those who came before them, and the gap has remained fairly wide even as both cohorts have become somewhat less conservative over the 20-year time span covered by the surveys. Generation X came into adulthood less conservative than either of its predecessor cohorts, but has since tracked the Baby Boomers fairly closely. And the newest age cohort -- Generation Y -- expresses agreement with even fewer of the conservative values.

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