Poll of 18 to 30-Year-Old Americans Finds Vast Majority See ‘America in Decline’

News & Politics

The Democratic polling firm Blueprint got some disturbing results from an online poll of 943 18 to 30-year-old registered voters.

The poll found “49% agreed to some extent that elections in the country don’t represent people like them; 51% agreed to some extent that the political system in the US ‘doesn’t work for people like me;’ and 64% backed the statement that ‘America is in decline.’” 


The poll also found that 65% agreed strongly or somewhat with the statement, “Nearly all politicians are corrupt.” Only 7% disagreed.

Usually, I never get too riled about the younger generation’s thoughts on America. I remember when I was 21 and believed the world would end before I was 30 and that America was going downhill fast. 

Many of us older folk today look at the youth of America and worry about the future. But then I remember my grandparents fretting about my generation, which is just like their grandparents worrying about the future. It’s a rite of passage.

Is this generation any different? Maybe.

“I think these statements blow me away, the scale of these numbers with young voters,” Evan Roth Smith, Blueprint’s lead pollster, told Semafor. “Young voters do not look at our politics and see any good guys. They see a dying empire led by bad people.”


While 45% of those polled said their own lives would be either a lot or a little bit better than their parents’, the same wasn’t true for how they felt America as a whole is doing: 54% — a number that included a solid mix of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — believed the country is going downhill.

The data also found the COVID-19 pandemic has left a lasting, bad taste in the mouths of young voters: 51% of those polled said they were happier before the COVID-19 pandemic, 77% said that the event changed the country for the worse, and 45% said they feel less connected to friends and acquaintances compared with five years ago.

“Step one is more fully admitting that people are hurting, concerning young voters and all voters, particularly around the economy [and] inflation,” Smith said. “And that we’re doing something about it. That it’s not all roses, and communicating that really, really strongly: That we don’t think everything is great.”


One of the interesting cross tabs in the Blueprint Poll has to do with the belief in the “Highest Standard of Living” in various countries.

I believe that I would have the highest standard of living in the United States: 38%

I believe that I would have the highest standard of living in a Scandinavian country, such as Norway, Sweden, or Denmark: 20%

I believe that I would have the highest standard of living in a major European country, such as Germany, France, or the United Kingdom: 16%

I believe that I would have the highest standard of living in Canada: 13% 

There is still a belief in America compared to other countries. It makes me think that there is a subtle poll bias at work. Young people are parroting all the negative things the adults are saying about America but many of them still believe in the power of the American dream. 

Related: The Great 2024 Democratic Party ‘Total Freakout’

I would be interested in seeing what these same respondents are saying about America ten years from now. I’m willing to be it’s going to be much more positive.

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