Berkeley Study Finds Youth More Conservative Than ParentsBERKELEY, Calif.
Teenagers are more conservative than their parents on issues such as school prayer and abortion, according to a study released last month.
Political science professors Merrill Shanks and Henry Brady of the University of California, Berkeley, found the generation gap was most pronounced on issues such as school prayer. Nearly 70 percent of teenagers surveyed said it should be allowed, compared to 59 percent of adults 27 to 59.
When it came to federal funding of faith-based charities, 59 percent of college-aged adults supported it along with 67 percent of younger teenagers. That compares to 40 percent of adults in the older age bracket.
On the issue of abortion, 44 percent of those 15 to 22 supported restrictions while 34 percent of adults over 26 shared that feeling.
But when it came to issues of social security and education, the results differed. Only 52 percent of those over 60 supported increasing education funding.
As traditionally has been the case, youths continue to want more federal protection of women and minorities and also are more likely to be troubled by job discrimination against gays and lesbians as compared to their older counterparts. Younger Americans also want more federal dollars spent on the poor and protecting the environment.
Differences in opinion between the young and old were also dramatic when it came to sex and violence on television. Among Americans ages 27 to 59, 67 percent thought “the amount of sexual content on television” is a serious problem, while just 47 percent of teens and the college-aged felt that way.
And while an overwhelming majority of the adults ages 27 to 59 (74 percent) thought TV violence is a serious problem, the majority of teens and young adults (55 percent) disagreed.
There were no major differences between young and old when it came to military defense, gun control, tax policy, criminal punishment and government spending on health care.
Indiana University professor Edward Carmines and Douglas Strand of the Survey Research Center at Berkeley also were part of the study.
The survey consisted of 1,258 telephone interviews with Americans ages 15 to 92 between April 23 and Nov. 20, 2001, with 84 percent of the polling conducted before Sept. 11. The poll has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.
The project was funded by a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts, which support nonprofit activities in the areas of culture, education, the environment, health and human services, public policy and religion.
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