State of the Union - Young Americans Expect a Change of Course, Not More Rhetoric Says Generation Opportunity

Only Thirty-One Percent Approve of the President's Handling of Youth Unemployment

WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Generation Opportunity today said that while young Americans are being courted and encouraged by the White House to listen to the State of the Union address this evening and to pose questions to administration officials through social media, young adults and their friends will actually be listening more closely for what represents either a true change of course or more rhetoric in defense of the status quo. After being unfairly and negatively impacted by 35 consecutive months of a national unemployment rate that is above 8 percent, young adults are very dissatisfied with leadership in Washington, the direction of the country, and policies that have put them at a disadvantage due to the resulting lack of economic opportunities.

"Tonight, young Americans will be listening for a substantive, immediate change of course for America. While they invested heavily in the promises and hope this President offered them in 2008, the reality is that the results do not match the rhetoric.

"Promises of expanded opportunity have instead ushered in record levels of opportunity denied – historic levels of government involvement in the private sector are denying millions of young Americans the opportunity to access the private sector through jobs, denying them skills and paychecks, denying them the promise of the future, and denying the country the benefit of their creativity and talent," said Paul T. Conway, president of Generation Opportunity and former Chief of Staff of the U.S. Department of Labor.

"It is not fair that over 3 in 4 Millennials now say they have or must delay their dreams and plans for the future due to the dire state of the economy. They are not interested in more rhetoric and long speeches. This generation cannot wait any longer. They are experiencing first-hand the results of failed leadership and policy – to them, the impact on their lives and futures is real and not simply a talking point or statistic."

Nearly half of young Americans ages 18-29 are unsatisfied with their current level of employment, just 31% approve of President Obama's handling of youth unemployment, and an overwhelming 69% say the current leadership in Washington fails to reflect the interests of the younger generation according to Generation Opportunity's national poll of Millennials (Commissioned by Generation Opportunity with the polling company Inc./Woman Trend, April 16-22, 2011, +/-4% Margin of Error) and reinforced by subsequent polls by other non-partisan organizations such as the Harvard Institute of Politics (IOP).

Millennials: Washington is Out of Touch

  • Only 31% of those 18-29 approve of Obama's handling of youth unemployment.
  • 69% say political leaders do NOT reflect the interests of young Americans.
  • 56% believe the wrong leadership is in Washington and 61% will vote on a candidate's record, not charisma.
  • 57% said they will learn more about the policy positions of Presidential candidates in the 2012 election than they did in 2008.

Millennials: Dreams Delayed by the Poor Economy

  • 77% of respondents (18-29) are delaying major life changes due to economic restraints.

o   44% delay buying a home;
o   28% delay saving for retirement;
o   27% delay paying off student loans or other debt;
o   27% delay going back to school/getting more education or training;
o   26% delay changing jobs/cities;
o   23% delay starting a family;
o   18% delay getting married.

Millennials: Job Creation and Federal Spending

  • 53% of overall Millennials agree if taxes on business profits were reduced, companies would be more likely to hire.
  • 59% of overall Millennials agree the economy grows best when individuals are allowed to create businesses without government interference.
  • 69% of 18-29 year-olds prefer reducing federal spending over raising personal taxes to balance the budget, and only 25% believe in raising personal taxes versus reducing federal spending to balance the budget.

Millennials: America, National Security, and Energy Independence

  • 54% believe America is on the wrong track, only 24% believe the U.S. is headed in the right direction.
  • 56% agree with "American Exceptionalism," described as an ideal of freedom and democracy exclusive to the United States, only 29% disagreed.
  • Greatest threats to national security: National Debt (62%), Energy Dependency (61%), and Indebtedness to Foreign Powers (50%).
  • 80% view China as a danger: economic threat (48%), both economic and military threat (28%), and military alone (4%).
  • 70% (net) would increase production of domestic energy sources like oil, natural gas, and coal.


Generation Opportunity is a non-profit, non-partisan 501 (c)(4) organization that seeks to engage everyone from young adults, to early career professionals, college students, young mothers and fathers, construction workers, current service men and women, veterans, entrepreneurs and all Americans who find themselves dissatisfied with the status quo and willing to create a better tomorrow. Generation Opportunity will continue to engage young Americans on issues that impact their lives and the nation as a whole and encourage them through both social media and grassroots organizing to become more civically engaged and make their voices heard.

Generation Opportunity operates on a strategy that combines advanced social media tactics with proven grassroots tactics to reach young Americans 18-29. The organization's social media platforms – "Being American" on Facebook and "The Constitution" on Facebook – have amassed a total fan base of more than 2 million. Both pages post links to relevant articles and reports from sources ranging from the federal General Accountability Office (GAO), to The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Brookings Institution, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, and The Heritage Foundation.

Read about">Generation Opportunity here; visit">"Being American" on Facebook here, and">"The Constitution" on Facebook here.

For our Spanish-language page –">Generación Oportunidad – click here.


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