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New Harvard poll finds most young voters are independent

A new poll released yesterday by Harvard University's Institute of Politics found that most young voters consider themselves as independent voters, not wishing to align themselves as either a Democrat or Republican. Thirty-eight percent of 18 to 29 year-old Americans polled answered as independent to the question, "When it comes to voting, with which party do you consider yourself to be affiliated?"

That doesn't mean independent candidates should be spending a huge amount of resources courting the younger voters as only 36% are likely voters for the November, 2014 general election. In addition, 81% of those polled admitted they were not politically engaged. Moreover, 58% agreed that "elected officials don’t seem to have the same priorities" they have.

In Florida, young voter may come out disproportionately due to the medical marijuana referendum that will be on the ballot. The poll found that when asked about legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, overall two-thirds (66%) would support legislative passage, and 44% would support full legalization of the plant, which is the same as the Libertarian Party of Florida's opinion. The poll found that 32% of young voters would be more likely to go to the polls if medical marijuana was going to be on the ballot. The younger voters also agreed with the Libertarian Party on tax cuts, noting that 40% feel that cutting taxes would spur economic growth. Another 40%, perhaps the same respondents, agreed with the Libertarian Party position with regard to foreign intervention. What may surprise many adults is 85% of young Americans were not smoking marijuana regularly, though they have no problem if a friend of theirs smokes regularly.

Forty-six percent of young voters feel, as libertarians do, that homosexual relationships are not morally wrong and are a personal matter, not one for the government to involve itself. When asked about school choice, another issue libertarians are passionate about, 40% of the younger voters feel parents should be able to choose where their children go to school.

Although most of the young people polled voted for Barack Obama in 2012, 67% responded they either never or sometimes do not trust him. This could be a result of President Obama's lies he told the country while in office, such as with Obamacare and the expanding scandal of NSA spying on Americans.

“It’s been clear for some time now that young people are growing more disillusioned and disconnected from Washington,” said Harvard Institute of Politics Polling Director John Della Volpe. “There’s an erosion of trust in the individuals and institutions that make government work — and now we see the lowest level of interest in any election we’ve measured since 2000. Young people still care about our country, but we will likely see more volunteerism than voting in 2014.”

When it came to the question about whether "government spending is an effective way to increase economic growth," a full 77% of young voters either did not feel it was effective or had no opinion on the issue. The respondents were split on the balance between personal freedoms and national security.

It would have been interesting had the poll included questions of interest in the Libertarian Party rather than continue the same questions about identifying with the Republican or Democratic parties. It would have offered a more complete view of the younger voter, rather than painting them with the broad brush of being "independent." It would seem when looking at the issues, younger voters may be most in line with the Libertarian Party's platform.

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