Top Foreign Policy Concerns for Young Voters Include China and National Debt as Final Presidential Debate Looms

Oct 22, 2012, 16:04 ET from Generation Opportunity

Young Americans say President Obama should lower taxes and regulations on business to keep jobs in America

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Generation Opportunity today released poll results showing China, the national debt, energy dependence, and indebtedness to foreign powers are top foreign policy and national security concerns of young Americans. As President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney prepare for the final Presidential Debate on foreign policy, the poll results reveal Millennials' attitudes toward foreign policy and America's role in the world. Tonight, Generation Opportunity will be live tweeting updates during the debate. Follow us on Twitter: @GenOpportunity.



  • 55% of young Americans are not confident that America will still be a global leader in five years if the USA continues along the same path as the last few years.
  • Only 36% of young Americans agree with the statement "generally speaking, things in the United States are heading in the right direction."


  • When asked to rank the greatest threats to the national security of the United States, young Americans listed the following reasons: (Randomized List) (Accepted Multiple Responses)
    • 59% - The national debt;
    • 46% - Energy dependence;
    • 43% - Indebtedness to foreign nations;
    • 40% - Terrorism;
    • 33% - Nuclear capable nations like Iran;
    • 3% - Other;
    • 7% - Do not know/cannot judge (accepted only this response).
  • 62% of young Americans would increase production of domestic American energy sources like oil, natural gas, and coal if given the opportunity to set America's fiscal priorities.


  • 71% of young Americans are concerned that so many American jobs are going to foreign competitors like China.
  • 72% of young Americans agree that with more and more companies leaving the USA in favor of locating their business in places like China and even Canada, President Obama should lower the taxes on American businesses to restore and expand jobs in America.
  • When asked why they thought American jobs are going to foreign competitors like China, young Americans indicated the following reasons: (Randomized List) (Accepted Multiple Responses)
    • 69% - Cheaper wages overseas;
    • 41% - High taxes on businesses in the U.S.;
    • 30% - Too much regulation on businesses in the U.S.;
    • 28% - Lack of opportunities to start and grow businesses in the U.S.;
    • 2% - I do not think U.S. jobs are going overseas;
    • 6% - Do not know/cannot judge (accepted only this response).
  • 76% of Millennials view China as a danger: 48% as an economic threat and 28% as both an economic and military threat.***


"Young American adults are very concerned about the United States' ability to maintain its role as a global leader in the future if it continues on the same path as the last several years. They believe certain policies advocated in Washington, D.C. have weakened our national security, especially policies that increase the national debt, decrease American energy production, expand our reliance on foreign energy sources, and escalate our indebtedness to foreign powers. They view China as both an economic and military threat to the United States, and they closely watch China's economic policies, military buildup, space exploration, and restrictions on Internet and speech freedoms," said Paul T. Conway, President of Generation Opportunity and former Chief of Staff of the United States Department of Labor under Secretary Elaine L. Chao. "Young Americans refuse to settle for an American future defined by chronic joblessness, increased national debt, and a diminished role on the world stage. They believe President Obama should lower taxes and regulations on American businesses so that they compete effectively and to avoid American jobs from going overseas to countries like China. They overwhelmingly agree that current policies are taking us backward, not forward, and plan to make their voices heard in the upcoming presidential election."


For Generation Opportunity, the polling company, inc./WomanTrend conducted a nationwide online survey of 1,003 American adults ages 18-29 between July 27 and July 31, 2012. Randomly selected online opt-in panel participants were sent an invitation to the survey via email which included a secure link to the online questionnaire. Quotas were used to ensure the survey was representative of the larger 18-29 year old nationwide population with regard to race, region, and gender. The data were NOT weighted. The overall sampling margin of error for the survey is +/-3.1% at a 95% confidence interval, meaning that the data obtained would not differ more than 3.1 percentage points in 95 out of 100 similar samples obtained.

***The specific data point, "76% of Millennials view China as a danger: 48% as an economic threat and 28% as both an economic and military threat," is from our 2011 survey (the polling company, inc./WomanTrend, April 16 – 22, 2011, +/- 4 percent margin of error).


Generation Opportunity is the largest non-profit, non-partisan organization in the United States engaging and mobilizing young Americans (ages 18-29) on important economic issues facing the nation. Since its launch in June of 2011, Generation Opportunity has amassed a following of over four million people on Facebook and is actively organizing young adults across America through grassroots tactics, voter registration, and voter turnout efforts.

Generation Opportunity operates on a strategy that combines advanced social media tactics with proven field tactics to reach Americans 18-29. The organization's social media platforms – "Being American by GO," "The Constitution by GO," "Gas Prices Are Too Damn High," "Lower Taxes by GO," "Keep Texas Awesome," "Jersey Proud," and "We Like Small Government" on Facebook – have amassed a total fan base of more than 4 million. The pages post links to relevant articles and reports from sources ranging from the federal Government Accountability Office (GAO), to The New York TimesThe Washington Post, The Brookings Institution, The Wall Street JournalThe Huffington Post, and The Heritage Foundation.

Read about Generation Opportunity here; visit "Being American by GO" on Facebook here, "The Constitution by GO" on Facebook here,  "Gas Prices Are Too Damn High" on Facebook here"Lower Taxes by GO" on Facebook here"Keep Texas Awesome" on Facebook here"Jersey Proud" on Facebook here, and "We Like Small Government" on Facebook here.

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Matthew Faraci – 202-997-1636 | EMAIL
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SOURCE Generation Opportunity