The Center for an Independent and Sustainable Democracy

The Center for an Independent and Sustainable Democracy

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The Center for an Independent and Sustainable Democracy at Arizona State University aims to foster and support thoughtful, innovative research, policy briefs and forums around the state of American Democracy. The two-fold focus is on exploring nonpartisan reforms and redesigns of federal, state and local governance of electoral structures, and a deep dive examination of the independent voter.

The Center for an Independent and Sustainable Democracy releases:
          Frustrated but Engaged:
                    Gen Z Attitudes on Voting, Parties and Issues in 2024

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  • Dr. Thom Reilly
  • Dan Hunting
  • Jacqueline Salit
  • Cathy Stewart 

Study Highlights:

  • A large number of registered Gen Z voters plan to vote in the 2024 general election: Two-thirds (66 percent) saying they will definitely vote, 29 percent possibly voting and only 5 percent saying they do not intend to vote. 78 percent of both Democrats and Republicans, and 53 percent of independents said they will definitely vote, while 57 percent of Latinos and 70 percent of non-Latinos indicate they will definitely vote.
  • The top reasons for those Gen Z voters not voting in 2022 were: ‘too busy’ (29%), ‘process too complicated or confusing’ (25%), ‘candidates not reflecting their ideas’ (17%) and ‘feeling their vote did not matter’ (15 %).
  • When asked, “What would make it more likely that you’ll vote in the 2024 general election?”, 43 percent of those who chose not to vote in 2022 checked the box for ‘candidates that better align with my values’, and 40 percent chose ‘candidates addressing issues that are important to me’.
  • Top issues for Gen Z voters in 2024 include: Cost of Living (90%), Affordable Housing (86%), Protecting the Water Supply (81%) Health Care (79%), Fair and Secure Elections (78%), Jobs (76%) and Reproductive Rights (74%). independents aligned with Democrats on several issues, such as affordable housing, health care, reproductive rights, and climate change. Other issues, including fair and secure elections, taxes, gas prices, and gun rights, show independent choices similar to Republicans.
  • Gen Z voters showed a high level of support for democratic principles, but also a great deal of skepticism about how well the current political environment works. There was overwhelming support shown for equal access to voting regardless of party affiliation (95%), more third-party ballot choices (80%), and the idea that their vote can change things for the better (69%). However, a majority of respondents (80%) felt that the major parties are out of touch with people of their age and that all politicians are corrupt. Strong majorities (80%) disagreed with the statements ‘the current political system works for my generation and both Republican and Democratic politicians want what’s best for the country.’
  • Arizona Gen Z voters get their news sources on important issues from social media (56%), followed by online news sites at 48 percent. Only 10 percent used print media – newspapers and magazines.
  • Respondents were asked if the presence of ballot measures on various policy choices would make it more likely that they would vote in November 2024. The measure ‘Establishing a fundamental right to abortion before fetal viability by enshrining the right to abortion in Arizona's constitution’ would make 93 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of independents more likely to vote. Likewise, significant portions of Democrats and independents expressed support for educational funding, increasing the minimum wage and open primaries.
  • The potential for an uptick in voter turnout in 2024 as compared with 2022 seems most pronounced among Gen Z independents.
          Arizona Gen Z voters are now distinctly independent, with independent registrations comprising 49 percent of the total. Among registered voters older than 30, just 32 percent are independent. Almost a third of all voters in this age group are Latino. They overwhelmingly feel the two major parties are not working in the best interest of the country and are out of touch with peoplle of their age. They tend to feel that politicians are corrupt. A sizeable number feel the voting system is confusing, that candidates do not reflect their ideas and their vote does not matter. However, despite this, a large majority indicate they will be voting in 2024.
With regard to their support for democratic principles, there was overwhelming backing for equal access to voting regardless of party affiliation, more third-party ballot choices, and the idea that their vote can change things for the better.
          Issues most important for this group of voters are primarily economic, with cost of living, affordable housing, health care, and jobs ranking as issues of most concern. Issues such as fair and secure elections and reproductive rights also are top of mind. Likely signaling a regional concern, protecting the water supply was also a major issue for this generation.
          Not surprisingly, Gen Z voters get their information on important issues from social media. Print media such as newspapers and magazines are used by only 10 percent of this group of voters. Finally, citizen led ballot initiatives dealing with reproductive rights, open primaries, and an increase in the minimum wage and education funding are top motivators for this group, especially, Democrats and independents.