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Young Texans Are More Skeptical Of Democracy And Open To Change, Study Finds

Voters line up to cast ballots
Salvador Castro for KUT
Voters line up on UT Austin campus to cast ballots in the midterm elections last year.

Younger Texans are less likely to view democracy positively and more likely to want to significantly and structurally change American government, according to a Texas Lyceum poll released today.

When asked, 32% of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 said they “strongly agree” that democracy is the best form of government. In comparison, the study found 45% of voters between ages 30 and 44, 61% of those between 45 and 64, and 78% of Texans over 65 felt that way.

Credit The Texas Lyceum

“I don’t think that young people are questioning the value of democracy,” Joshua Blank, the research director of the Texas Lyceum poll, said. “I think they are just less satisfied with the way we are implementing it in the U.S. currently.”

Blank said young people are frustrated with how the government is working and want to see serious change.

Among Texas adults under 30, more than 70% said they supported “significant change to our governing system,” whereas only 45% percent of people over 65 agreed with that statement.

“As you look at younger cohorts within the Texas electorate – and those are bigger and bigger of the Texas population,” Black said, “they are increasingly open to change.”

Overall, Blank said, a majority of those polled said the government needs significant changes.

Just 16% of Texans who were polled said they are “very satisfied” with “the way democracy is working in our country.”

Pollsters also asked voters what kind of voting reforms they would like to see.

“What’s interesting in this poll is that we found a lot of room for compromise,” Blank said. While there were issues that voters from each political party disagreed on, Republican and Democratic voters expressed support for requiring paper backups at the ballot box. Members of both parties also said they supported automatically updating voter registrations when a person moves.

“I think the point from this poll is to say that I don’t think Texans are going to be scared off by discussions of large issues and the fundamental structure of our government,” Blank said.

Ashley Lopez covers politics and health care. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AshLopezRadio.
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