Economy, jobs are teens’ top concerns in election

According to a recent national survey of teens, adults are not the only ones worried about jobs, the economy and education in today's presidential election.
Tribune Staff
Nov 6, 2012

When asked what they would be most concerned with if they could vote, America’s future workforce cited those same three issues.

The 2012 Junior Achievement USA survey of teens ages 14-17 also revealed more than half of teens (57 percent) think the candidates are more concerned with politics and winning than listening to the needs of the people and shaping their ideas and policies accordingly.

Additional key findings include:

— Two out of three teens are concerned about finding a job after they complete their education (66 percent).

— Only one in six teens (18 percent) think the candidates are talking enough about helping small business owners and entrepreneurs to be successful.

“These findings speak to the intelligence and maturity of America’s youth, and show that they’re paying attention to the issues,” said Bill Coderre, president of the Grand Rapids-based Junior Achievement of the Michigan Great Lakes Inc. “It also presents us with a challenge to ensure that tomorrow’s workforce is ready, capable and confident. That is what Junior Achievement is all about — empowering young people to own their economic success.”

Like the electorate and general population, teens are fairly split on which candidate they would support, if they could vote. Interestingly, 86 percent said they would vote. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 64 percent of voting-aged citizens voted in the 2008 presidential election.

“It is encouraging to see teens’ interest in exercising their right to vote,” Coderre said.

Responses were also analyzed by gender, where a few key differences emerged:

— More teen girls than boys are concerned about education (70 percent vs. 59 percent) and the environment (22 percent vs. 15 percent).

— More teen girls than boys are worried about finding a job after completing their education (71 percent vs. 61 percent).

— More teen girls (17 percent) than teen boys (11 percent) said they would not vote in this election.

This report presents the findings of an online survey conducted from Sept. 28 to Oct. 12, among a national sample of 753 teens ages 14-17. The survey’s margin of error is +/- 3.6 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

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