Americans born between 1979 and 1995 are just different. Playing more soccer than baseball, getting a trophy for just being on the team, going to integrated schools more than any other group in the past, traveling abroad, steeped in mobile and internet technology – they are just different.
But demographically, they are also different from any other age cohort. Take, for example, race and ethnicity. I have just aggregated polls from Zogby Analytics from 2012 and 2013 – a total of 27,220 likely voters overall and 8,049 who are First Globals. While 68% of all voters were white, just 53% of First Globals identified in that category. Consider the stark differential: Privates (born 1926-1945) are 82% white; Woodstockers (1946-1964) are 77% white; and Nikes (1964-1978) are 67% white. Consider that 47% are non-white – 21% Hispanic, 15% African American, 9% Asian, and 3% “Other”. This is a racial/ethnic sea change from previous decades.
But that is not all. First Globals are presently propping up the Democratic Party with 42% self-identifying as Democrats. That is 7 points higher than Privates, 5 points more than Woodstockers, and 6 points more than Nikes. While overall, Americans who call themselves has grown in the past few years from about 20% to 25%, much of this attributable to the fact that 34% of these Globals say they are liberal. Contrast that with only 17% of Privates, 20% of Woodstockers, and just 23% of Nikes. On the other end of the spectrum, 33% say they conservative, which is 19 points less than Privates, 14 points fewer than Woodstockers, and 9 points under Nikes.
First Globals are also different in terms of religious identification. They are about at the national average as Catholic (26%) but 8 points less than the national average as self-identified Protestant (45%, compared with 53%). Please note that 64% of Privates call themselves Protestant, as do 59% of Woodstockers and 49% of Nikes. Especially noteworthy, is that 26% describe themselves as “Other/Non-Affiliated” (18% national average) – as opposed to only 9% of Privates, 14% of Woodstockers, and 19% of Nikes. Of those who are Protestant, 50% call themselves “Born Again/Evangelical”, which is 3 points less than every other group. It is important to note, however, that younger evangelicals voted for Barack Obama at a significantly higher rate than others in this category and that, even among conservative evangelicals, their priorities on issues have shifted to concerns about poverty, human rights, and the environment.
Not surprisingly, First Globals earn less – 41% have a household income of less than $35,000. In this regards, they are just about where Privates are (42%), except that Privates generally have a higher net worth and less debt.
Regardless of their concern over government and personal debt, First Globals are much less inclined to be supporters of the Tea Party. Only 20% identify with the movement, in sharp contrast with 38% of Privates, 30% of Woodstockers, and 26% of Nikes.
As a sign of the times, the First Globals surveyed were more inclined to see themselves as members of the Creative Class – 38%, slightly more than the 35% of Privates and 34% each among Woodstockers and Nikes.
Much has been made of their souring on President Obama – who 66% voted for in 2008 and 61% in 2012. I aggregated Zogby Analytics just for the year 2013 (3,174 likely voters) and the average for the year is just what national polls are saying today for this age cohort – 52% approve of Mr. Obama’s job , while 42% disapprove. But, as with any age cohort, this is not a monolithic group. For example, the two in five (39%) who have at least a college degree support the President 58% to 38%, while those with less than a college degree are somewhat cooler – 48% approve, 45% disapprove. Almost two in three young Catholics favor the President by a factor of 63% to 34%, while only 45% of young Protestants approve and 50% oppose. Interestingly, as mentioned above, 35% of younger evangelicals approve of his performance. Young Jews are solidly with the President – 67% to 25%.
Only 40% of young whites approve of Mr. Obama’s job, but remember barely a majority of First Globals are white. The President is propped up by the support of young Hispanics (56%), African Americans (78%) and Asians (66%). Where Globals live is a big factor: those in big cities and suburbs are far more likely to support Mr. Obama (62% and 54% respectively) than are those who live in small cities (43%) and rural areas (33%).
A substantial portion of Globals have passports and 59% of them approve of the President’s job performance. In contrast, those without passports are less inclined (45%).
Remember, this group will be approximately 30% of the electorate sometime in the next decade. The demographic revolution that ushered in a non-white and decidedly non-conservative President will continue and grow.