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Poll: Millennials Lack Confidence in US Justice System, Congress, Media

Millennials can balance a lot of information. But, according to a new study, they give it superficial attention and are easily distracted.

Millennials lack confidence in the U.S. justice system and distrust the mainstream media, according to a recent Harvard Institute of Politics (IOP) poll published on Monday.

Nearly 47 percent of the 3,183 interviewed indicated they have no or not much confidence in the justice system’s ability to judge people without bias for race and ethnicity. Young Americans ages 18-29 were surveyed between March 18 and April 3.

Broken down by race, a majority of African Americans (59 percent) and Hispanics (52 percent) said they are not confident the U.S. judicial system judges without bias. Among whites the figure is 42 percent.

These results come after the White House announced on Friday that 53 police departments across the United States have committed to an initiative designed to make local policing more transparent.

The White House had said the commitments "represent concrete steps toward building trust" in local communities between citizens and police, and are indicative of a larger shift in the culture of community policing.

Harvard IOP polling director John Della Volpe said millennials are “deeply” concerned about the “very nature” of the way we are organized as a country, and they want to be treated fairly.

Sonya Jacobs, student chair of the Harvard Public Opinion Project, said poll organizers decided to add questions about the U.S. justice system after the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement - a national movement of street protests that began after the 2012 fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida during a street altercation with a mixed race Hispanic man.

Young Americans also distrust the mainstream media. Only 2 percent of those polled trust the media "all of the time" and 7 percent "most of the time."

When compared to other areas of government, the U.S. military got the highest level of trust among millennials with 51 percent agreeing the military often does “the right thing.” Less than half of millenials have a high level of trust for President Obama and the U.S. Supreme Court, with Obama at 40 percent and the high court at 39 percent. Only 18 percent of millennials trust Congress all or most of the time.

The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

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    Aline Barros

    Aline Barros is an immigration reporter for VOA’s News Center in Washington, D.C. Before joining VOA in 2016, Aline worked for the Gazette Newspapers and Channel 21 Montgomery Community Media, both in Montgomery County, Md. She has been published by the Washington Post, G1 Portal Brazilian News, and Fox News Latino. Aline holds a broadcast journalism degree from University of Maryland. Follow her @AlineBarros2.

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