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Poll: Majority of Young Americans Say Politics Lack Civility


Sixty-two percent of young American adults — ages 18-29 — believe the tone of their country’s political discourse has taken a turn for the worse during past five years, according to a new poll.

A majority of young people in America believe the tone of the country’s politics has taken a turn for the worse, according to a new poll.

Sixty-two percent of Americans between the ages of 18-29 believe the level of civility of American politics has decreased during the past five years, the poll released Thursday by the Harvard Institute of Politics found.

The same poll indicates 60 percent of young people disapproved of Trump’s performance during the presidential transition, though the numbers were split largely along party lines.

Eighty-seven percent of Democrats polled disapprove of Trump’s performance, while just 22 percent of Republicans feel the same way.

The poll also found Trump’s inauguration speech left young people divided along party lines. Just less than half of Democrats said they were more fearful for America’s future after the address, while 70 percent of Republicans said they were more hopeful. Independents were split about evenly three ways between hopeful, fearful and not sure.

Student loans loom large

Following Trump’s election in November, about a quarter of young Americans said they were motivated to get involved in public service and politics, while another 23 percent said they were less likely to get involved. The other 42 percent of respondents said their attitude had not changed.

A national service program is one way in which young people could choose to involve themselves in politics, the survey found, as 57 percent of young people expressed support for the policy proposal.

The program, which has been floated as a way to help alleviate student loan debt, would allow young people to work in some form of civil service position, like serving in the military or joining the Peace Corps, as a way to help pay down their debt.

Maggie Williams, Director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics, said student loan debt was a topic of much interest to young people during the 2016 election, and it will continue to be a top concern for those people moving forward.

“More than half of those interviewed support the creation of a national service program that is linked to student loan forgiveness,” she said. “We suspect that in the near future, national, state and local leaders will hear directly from millennials on this important issue.”

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