Pennsylvania's Fetterman uses old mullet photo to fundraise
Generation Z may be most liberal demographic yet
A generation of post-millennials is poised to enter the electorate as perhaps the most liberal age cohort ever, fueled by unprecedented diversity and expansive views of the role of government.
On issues ranging from the treatment of racial minorities to climate change to diversity in society, the post-millennial generation - dubbed Generation Z by demographers - looks a lot more like the millennial generation than like their parents in Generation X or the baby boom generation, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.
But Generation Z takes an even more liberal view of the role of government in society than do millennials. Seven in 10 members of Generation Z say the government should do more to solve problems, while just 29 percent say government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals.
Just under two-thirds of millennials say government should do more. About half of those in Generation X and the baby boom generation agree.
Many of the attitudes held by Generation Z - those born after 1996, who are now between the ages of 13 and 21 - are formed through experience with an unprecedented level of racial and societal diversity, said Kim Parker, Pew's director of social trends research.
"They're overwhelmingly the most racially and ethnically diverse generation we've seen.
They're on track to be the most well-educated generation we've seen. They're less likely to drop out of high school and more likely to go to college," Parker said.
One measure of the evolution of the youngest generation is that more than a third of them, 35 percent, know someone who prefers to be addressed using gender-neutral pronouns, compared with just a quarter of Millennials and less than a sixth of those in Generation X.
Almost 6 in 10 members of Generation Z say forms or online profiles that ask about gender should include options other than "man" or "woman." And 57 percent say they are very or somewhat comfortable referring to someone else by a gender-neutral pronoun, slightly lower than the 59 percent of millennials who say the same but far higher than older generations.
"They look pretty similar to Millennials in terms of their liberal values and their openness to societal changes," Parker said.
The youngest generation, too, is more likely to support protests by NFL players who kneel during the national anthem, a favored boogeyman for President Trump. Six in 10 members of Generation Z approve of the protests, about the same as the number of millennials who do so.
Majorities of every older generation disapprove of the NFL protests.
Just 3 in 10 members of Generation Z approve of Trump's job performance, almost identical to his approval rating among millennials. Trump's approval rating is north of 50 percent among only one age cohort, the silent generation, those between the ages of 73 and 90.
The new report shows a potentially significant generational schism between the country's youngest and oldest Republicans, one that is likely to influence debates within the GOP if those attitudes hold.
Gen Zers who say they are members of or lean toward the Republican Party are more likely than older Republicans to say that racial diversity is a good thing for the country and that immigrants have a positive impact on the country.
By contrast, those in Generation Z who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party are virtually identical to Democrats in older generations, on everything from the role government plays to the benefits of diversity and immigration.
"Democrats are more in lock step across generations on these big social and political issues," Parker said. "You don't see these kinds of generational divides among Democrats."
The Pew Research Center study is based on a survey of 920 teens between the ages of 13 and 17, conducted online in September, October and November, and on a nationally representative survey of 10,682 adults over the age of 18 conducted online in September and October.
The total sample of members of Generation Z, 1,178 respondents, carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.