Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Fact-checking claims about the millennial generation

Millennials are largely of voting age now. (Tampa Bay Times photo)
Millennials are largely of voting age now. (Tampa Bay Times photo)

In 1980, America greeted the Post-It note, the Rubik’s Cube, and the launch of CNN. Demographers and marketers also labeled it as the first year of the millennial generation, a group that today makes up about a quarter of the adult population.

A recent Pew Research Center report and other trends have got people talking about this group, now roughly aged 18 to 33, and what their attitudes mean for elections and politics.

We fact-checked three recent claims about millennials and the youth vote.

• Rock the Vote, a group that supports political involvement among young people, tweeted that "50% of #millennials don't associate w/ any political party" and that you could call them the "party pooper" generation. This is partially accurate, because the group doesn't strongly identify with parties. But the statement leaves out the fact that millenials tend to lean much more Democratic than Republican, and surveys show the trend pretty clearly. We rated the statement Half True.

• In a back-and-forth on the Sunday shows, Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said millennials are  "more pro-life than baby boomers and older Americans." We went through the polling data, though, and found they are about equally "pro-life" as baby boomers and consistently are less "pro-life" than seniors. We rated the claim False.

• U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said he thought his libertarian views, especially against government surveillance, would be attractive to young people. "The president won the youth vote three to one, but his numbers have dropped 20, 30 percent among the youth," Paul noted. Paul was a little off on his numbers. The youth vote didn't support Obama quite as much as a 3 to 1 ratio. But he was largely right about the drop off in approval. We rated his statement Mostly True.