Morals Guide Young Voters in their Politics

Morals Guide Young Voters in their Politics

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Vote for Change lofoHarvard students published the results of their spring poll which measured the political ideals of college students today. The study showed that morality and values play a critical role, more than traditional ideological labels like liberal and conservative. Forty percent of those polled are "religious and secular centrists" who incorporate religious and spiritual views with their political attitudes and actions. The Christian Science Monitor analyzed the moral lens through which these 1,200 students view politics. They perceive not just the obvious issues, like a woman’s right to choose or the death penalty, as moral ones, but also the federal government’s response to hurricane Katrina, education policy, and the Iraq war. College students are voting in greater numbers, too. More than 11 million cast ballots in 2004, the highest number since 1972.

In the survey only one-third of students say they approve of the job George W. Bush is doing as President, down eight points from this past fall. Following recent trends, students also continue to feel the country is on the “wrong track” rather than headed in the right direction. . . (To me, that is good news. From an elevated perspective, and in the long run, discontent always breeds innovation and evolution toward a better world and better practices.) Click read more to see what else I find heartening about the poll.

I am particularly pleased with the results indicating that college students continue to support a more multilateral U.S. foreign affairs stance and are conflicted over unilateral action to prevent nuclear weapons development, including in Iran.

"Nearly three out of four college students (72%) believe the United States should let other countries and the United Nations take the lead in solving international crises and conflicts, nearly identical to Spring 2005 poll findings."

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I also was hopeful after reading that a majority of students trust our government’s ability to correctly choose which phone calls and e-mails to monitor, BUT they are still generally unwilling to allow it. A majority of college students (53%) say they have a fair amount or a great deal of confidence in government’s ability to correctly tell whose phone calls and e-mails should be monitored and whose should not. However, the same percentage (53%) say they also would not be willing to allow the government to monitor Americans under suspicion to reduce the threat of terrorism, with only 41% saying they would be willing. This reluctance was not mirrored in a recent poll of the general public, where 68% of Americans say they would allow such monitoring (CBS News/NYT Poll 1/06).

And, finally, only 46% of the students agreed that they are optimistic about the country’s future. I hope more of them find out about the Good News Network.

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