Gen Z is Politically Engaged, But Skeptical About Government’s Ability to Help Them

The Voter Participation Center recently partnered with Lake Research Partners to learn more about prospective Gen Z voters. This is one of the first qualitative studies looking at how voting-age members of Gen Z (ages 18 – 22) are thinking about politics.

The survey is comprised of message boards conducted with Gen Z voters 18-20 and 21-22 and included panels that were cis male, cis female and gender non-conforming. Panelists were drawn from a combination of red, purple and blue states. (AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, IL, KS, LA, MD, MI, MN, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, TX, VA, WA.)

Key Findings

Generation Z is progressive and they lean towards being Democratic.

Money and college affordability in particular are a major stressor for this generation.

They grew up online and it has led them to value their privacy and also be wary of “snail mail.”

Conceptually, they don’t find it hard to register or vote. However, when it comes to registering online, there’s a disconnect between their perception and reality.

They think voting is important as it lets them have their voice heard. However, they are cynical about the efficacy of voting because they’re not sure how much of an impact their vote may have.

When given the choice, they would rather volunteer than vote.

They don’t trust the government’s ability to look out for them or solve problems – especially those in the Gender Non-Conforming Group – but many in the cis groups still see a role for government.

Generation Z views issues through the lens of intersectionality, meaning the ways in which various forms of discrimination can compound across racial, gender, class and other lines.

See the Data