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Harvard Poll: Majority of millennials want U.S. to wage war against ISIS

Survey of millennials also found cynicism regarding #BlackLivesMatter movement

More than half of millennials recently surveyed by the Harvard Institute of Politics backed sending ground troops to fight against ISIS, according to the poll’s results.

Specifically, nearly six in 10 18- to 29-year-olds – or 57 percent of those surveyed – said they support sending ground troops to fight against the latest war on terror in the Middle East, according to the poll, released Wednesday.

The support in fighting ISIS is part of growing millennial support toward U.S. military intervention abroad, results found.

In asking whether it is “sometimes necessary to attack potentially hostile countries, rather than waiting until we are attacked to respond,” the poll saw a 7 percent increase from 2014 in support of the statement.

“(Millennials) desire to show a more forceful hand overseas,” said John Della Volpe, director of polling, in a teleconference with reporters Wednesday.

The poll also saw a 10 percent increase from 2014 when it asked respondents if the U.S. should take the “lead in solving international crises and conflicts.” Thirty-five percent of respondents supported that statement compared to 25 percent in 2014.

What’s more, a majority of millennials—53 percent—now have trust in the U.S. military, a 6 percent increase from 2014.

The increase in the trust toward the military is part of a trend in millennials offering further trust toward government institutions. Congress, the Supreme Court, the president, and the federal government received increased trust compared to 2014 polling results. The 2014 poll found all-time lows in millennial trust in government.

The military remains the most highly trusted institution while Congress remains the lowest, with the latter garnering just 17 percent of millennials’ trust.

The poll also looks at other trends, and found a solid majority of millennials do not believe the on-going #BlackLivesMatter protests will bring meaningful change. In addition, millennials are split when it comes to supporting the protests, which took place on college campuses across the country this school year.

Fifty-nine percent of respondents aged 18 to 29 said they believe the protests will “not be effective” in bringing meaningful change. When it comes to supporting the protests, it’s a dead heat, with 49 percent of millennials both supporting and opposing the on-going protests.

“There is a pretty stark divide in how people view the police, and the #BlackLivesMatter protests,” Harvard student Jeff Metzger told reporters in Wednesday morning’s conference call.

The poll results show a strong racial divide on attitudes toward the protests.

While 81 percent of black millennials support the protests, just 37 percent of whites do. A racial divide is also seen on whether protests will bring meaningful change: 60 percent of black respondents believe the protests will bring meaningful changes, while just 29 percent of white respondents think it will.

While millennials are divided over the protests surrounding events in Ferguson and New York, Della Volpe told reporters the poll “found overwhelmingly” that millennials agree on certain policies to reduce racial inequalities in policing.

Eighty percent of respondents said requiring police officers to wear body cameras will be effective in reducing inequalities in the police system. Sixty percent said instituting policies that require police departments to match the racial demographics of the community they serve can bring meaningful change.

The poll was completed with 3,058 interviews from Americans aged 18 to 29. Interviews took place from March 18 to April 1. The poll was evenly split among male and female respondents. Fifty-seven percent of respondents were white, 21 percent were Hispanic, and 13 percent were black. Seven percent were other, and 2 percent declined to state.

The full poll results may be accessed here.

College Fix reporter Nathan Rubbelke is a student at Saint Louis University.

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About the Author
Nathan Rubbelke -- Saint Louis University