Polls have shown that political partisanship has surged to an all time high over the past decade, driven in part by ongoing culture wars on controversial social issues.
But the Republican-Democrat split doesn’t get to the heart of what’s really dividing Americans on these issues. When it comes down to it, Americans generally agree with members of their own generation.
We’ve found eight instances in which political fights are fundamentally generational. Specifically, the contrast lies among the millennials, Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation.
1. According to a recent Pew poll, 65% of millennials support marijuana legalization. Contrast that to 50% of their Boomer parents, and just 32% of their grandparents in the Silent Generation.
2. A full 70% of millennials support same-sex marriage, compared to just 31% of those in their grandparents' generation, according to a recent Pew study.
3. Among millennials, 65% say there should be a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. In contrast, only 47% of people over 65 support a path to citizenship, according to a November 2012 Washington Post/ABC News poll.
4. Older generations are more likely to want the government to focus on reducing the deficit, while millennials tend to support deficit spending to boost the economy, according to a July 2012 WaPo /ABC poll.
5. A Quinnipiac poll taken this month found that older generations were more likely to oppose Obama's landmark 2010 health care reforms.
6. A Pew poll taken last year found that young people were much more likely to support government regulation of the private sector.
7. Another Pew study found that young people overwhelmingly want more investments in renewable energy, while older generations think drilling should be a top priority.
8. Pew also found that a major generational split on foreign policy, specifically Iran, with older generations taking a more hawkish stance.
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