Poll of Virginia Young Adults Reveals Deep Concern the Lack of Jobs is Tied to Shrinking Middle Class
88 percent say poor economy impacts daily decisions and 77 percent say key life and career decisions hang in the balance
Only 35 percent of Virginia's 18-29 year olds say elected leaders represent their interests and 78 percent intend to vote in 2012 presidential election
WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2012 /Christian Newswire
/ – Generation Opportunity
, the largest non-profit, non-partisan organization in the United States engaging and mobilizing young Americans (ages 18-29 years old) on the important economic issues facing the nation, released new polling data today on Virginia young adults as the 2012 presidential election nears. Since its launch in June of 2011, Generation Opportunity has amassed a following of over four million fans on Facebook and is actively organizing Millennials across America through long-term education initiatives, grassroots tactics, voter registration, and voter turnout efforts. Generation Opportunity has already engaged well over one hundred thousand Virginia young adults through its issue education efforts, social media platforms, and grassroots field operations.
"The impact of the poor national economy, high youth unemployment, and the overall lack of economic opportunity is forcing young adults throughout the Commonwealth to change their lives, including buying less food, canceling family plans, and moving back in with their parents. These smart young adults know their career goals and dreams have been delayed indefinitely as a relentless federal agenda, set by the White House, of high, job-killing taxes and nonsensical regulations compound economic problems and result in less job creation," said Paul T. Conway, President of Generation Opportunity and former Chief of Staff of the United States Department of Labor. "Virginia's young adults know the middle-class is shrinking due to the lack of job opportunities, they see through the politically-motivated enticement to remain dependent on their parents' healthcare, and they overwhelmingly prefer full-time jobs so they can repay their student loans and move forward with their lives. They are overwhelmingly unimpressed with today's elected leaders in Washington. They know they are getting a raw deal as they watch their future earnings wasted by reckless spending, and they plan to make their voices heard this November."
Mr. Conway served as a Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia and worked extensively on issues related to health care reform, welfare reform, and other policy efforts designed to empower individuals through opportunity while ending cycles of dependency on government.
For Generation Opportunity, the polling company, inc./WomanTrend, conducted a statewide online survey of 566 Virginia adults ages 18-29 between July 27 – August 13, 2012. Randomly selected online opt-in panel participants were sent an invitation to the survey via email which included a secure link to the online questionnaire. Quotas were used to ensure the survey was representative of the larger 18-29 year old statewide population with regard to race, region, and gender. The data were NOT weighted. The overall sampling margin of error for the survey is ±4.4% at a 95% confidence interval, meaning that the data obtained would not differ more than 4.4 percentage points in 95 out of 100 similar samples obtained.
· 88% of Virginia's 18-29 year olds changed some aspect of their day-to-day lives because of the current state of the economy (Accepted multiple responses) (Randomized):
o 57% - reduced entertainment budget;
o 48% - cut back on gifts for friends and family;
o 44% - reduced grocery/food budget;
o 43% - skipped a vacation;
o 37% - driven less/relied more on public transit;
o 37% - taken active steps to reduce home energy costs;
o 28% - tried to find an additional job;
o 24% - changed living situation (moved in with family, taken extra roommates, downgraded apartment or home);
o 23% - sold personal items or property (cars, electronic appliances, or other possessions);
o 17% - skipped a wedding, family reunion, or other significant social event;
o 2% - Other, specified;
o 10% - None of the above (accepted only this response);
o 2% - Do not know/cannot judge (accepted only this response).
· 77% of 18-29 year olds in Virginia have delayed or might not do at least one major life event due to the current state of the economy (Accepted multiple responses) (Randomized):
o 42% - Buy my own place;
o 29% - Go back to school/getting more education or training;
o 29% - Pay off student loans or other debt;
o 27% - Start a family;
o 26% - Save for retirement;
o 21% - Change jobs/cities;
o 17% - Get married;
o 20% - None of the above (accepted only this response);
o 3% - Do not know/cannot judge (accepted only this response).
· Only 35% believe that today's political leaders reflect the interests of young Americans.
· 75% believe that the lack of job opportunities is shrinking the American middle class.
· 64% of Virginia Millennials believe the availability of more quality, full-time jobs upon graduation is more important than lower student loan interest rates.
· 62% say the availability of more quality, full-time jobs with health insurance plans is more important than the ability to stay on their parents' health plans until they are 26.
· 78% of 18-29 year olds in Virginia plan to vote in the election for President this year.
Generation Opportunity's social media operations and grassroots organizers and volunteers have already engaged well over a hundred thousand young people online and at dozens of events across Virginia over the course of the past year. They have trained student leaders on college campuses; co-sponsored trade shows, industry, and manufacturing summits; participated in street fairs and local festivals; and attended happy hours for young professionals.
Selected events where Generation Opportunity field teams and volunteers have listened to the concerns of young adults and recruited new supporters at have included: the Arlington County Fair; the Virginia Mountain Peach Festival in Roanoke; Haymarket Day; the Carytown Watermelon Festival; Arlington's Peruvian Festival; Farmers' Markets in Arlington, Herndon, and Lorton; the Rossyln Jazz Festival; the African American Heritage Festival in Manassas; Richmond's VeggieFest; Washington Nationals baseball and DC United soccer games; the NoVa Brewfest in Leesburg; Virginia Beach's Chalk-the-Walk Art Explosion; the Virginia Pork Festival in Greensville; and local Chamber of Commerce events in Alexandria, Arlington, Charlottesville, the Dulles Region, Fauquier, Loudoun, and Surry. Generation Opportunity is a member of the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the statewide El Salvador Chamber of Commerce. The overwhelming concern of young adults at each of these events has been the poor national economy, as well as the lack of opportunity and high unemployment.
In recent months, Generation Opportunity field teams also have met with young adults at colleges and schools throughout the state, signing up more volunteers and further expanding its growing statewide network of grassroots activists. Generation Opportunity organizers have visited and recruited new volunteer team members at the University of Virginia, Old Dominion University, Patrick Henry College, Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason University, the College of William and Mary, Marymount University, Christopher Newport University, and many others. The organization has dozens more events planned and is providing expertise and assistance for other events their volunteers are conducting within their own communities and extensive social media networks.
Generation Opportunity's social media and grassroots field teams also recently trained student leaders at the National Student Government Summit, hosted by the American Student Government Association (ASGA), on how high youth unemployment is devastating the dreams and careers of America's Millennials and how they can better organize their respective campuses. Campus leaders representing Virginia colleges and universities were present, including key leaders from Christopher Newport University, Shenandoah University, Tidewater Community College, and Blue Ridge Community College.
ABOUT GENERATION OPPORTUNITY
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 operates on a strategy that combines advanced social media tactics with proven field tactics to reach Americans 18-29. The organization's social media platforms – "Being American by GO," "The Constitution by GO," "Gas Prices Are Too Damn High," "Lower Taxes by GO," "Keep Texas Awesome," "Jersey Proud," and "We Like Small Government" on Facebook – have amassed a total fan base of more than 4 million. The pages post links to relevant articles and reports from sources ranging from the federal Government 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.