I’m writing this article mere days away from the 2012 United States Presidential campaign. The outcome is not yet known. But what we do know is that today’s teens have listened up and spoken out on the candidates. They have an opinion of who they want to run our country for the next four years.
Some of these opinions are just that opinions. The reason? Simple math-only a handful of teenagers will actually be able to vote. But whether or not their age allows them to be a part of the decision process, their opinions do matter. They matter because their ideas and views on life, liberty and the future of our country are what will be shaping the future of our country. So…let’s take a look at what America’s young people have to say. According to a report in the Junior Achievement USA survey, 57% of teens feel that both candidates are more concerned about getting elected than they are about doing something to make their future in this country more secure and a vast majority of teens (66%) are fearful that their college education will be nothing more than a ‘temporary fix’ to unemployment-that they’ll not have jobs when they graduate. Additionally, only 18% of them feel like the candidates have a sincere desire and understanding of how to help the ‘little guy’ (small business owners) resume their rightful place in the ‘Land of Opportunity’.
Who said teenagers weren’t paying attention? Sounds like they have a pretty good handle on things, to me. Their concerns are the concerns of the majority of breathing, thinking Americans. Their concerns are the same as our concerns for both our futures and those of our children security and the freedom to live our dreams. As for where they are ‘getting’ these opinions from, most teens are fully capable and desirous to think for themselves. They do listen to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, but they are no man’s puppets. They are listening to these guys because they can understand what these late-night guys are talking about. The issues are put to language they understand. And hey, these guys can be pretty funny. That’s all well and good. And it is great to know we are seeing a reignited passion in our young people for the health and welfare of our country. But what is this passion saying? Who are teens ‘voting’ for? The Scholastic Student Vote 2012 results show that this depends on:
Where teens live
The majority of teens living in the lower Midwest and southern regions of the country, as well as those living in the northwest (with the exception of the coastal states) voted for Mitt Romney. Both coastal regions supported President Obama. The key states of Ohio and Iowa also went to the President in this mock election. What their religious and moral views are This should come as no surprise: conservatives voted for Mitt Romney and less conservatives voted for President Obama. It is interesting to note that the moral and religious issues teens care most about are fairly me – oriented. The issues we’re talking about here include lowering the drinking age to18 nationwide, legalizing marijuana, less government restrictions on the internet and piracy, protection of student loan funding, gay rights and job security. Do you see a pattern? They want the government to step in when it will bring them gain, but ‘back-off’ is the word when it comes to restricting them.
The majority of teens surveyed in these reports were between the ages of 13 and 18 and still in high school. This naturally results in the teens’ being somewhat influenced by the views and beliefs of their parents when it comes to the economy, education, jobs and the war. When it comes to matters that hit them personally, they are thinking for themselves more and more.
Those teens who’ve had to leave their homes, give up extra activities or even change schools (public vs. private) for economic reasons are more likely to vote for Mitt Romney. They don’t have to listen to any debate or advertisements. They are living the results of the state of the present economy. For those whose lives have not been greatly affected, their votes go to the candidate they feel best reflects their views on other areas. Okay, I know you’re wanting to know who ‘won’ this completely mock election. Of course you do! The winner of the election by a 51% to 45% margin (4% other) was President Obama.
Like I said, by the time you read this we’ll know if the kids knew what they were talking about. But for now…
You can also read the article from Jade Robinson on ParentingTeens’ Dec 2012 Magazine Issue available on iTunes