By Juana Summers for Daily Hampshire Gazette
WASHINGTON — Large majorities of young Americans want to see an expansion of government services, including a single-payer health care program, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and MTV.
According to the poll, 69 percent of young Americans between the ages of 15 and 34 favor a national health plan, known as a single-payer program. Eighty-eight percent of young Democrats and 40 percent of young Republicans favor a government-run health insurance program, according to the poll. Roughly two-thirds of young independents are in favor.
Young Americans called health care a very important issue in deciding how to vote. Sixty-two percent of those who will be old enough to vote in the midterms rated it as such. That’s the most who said the same of any issue in the poll, including immigration and the economy.
Thirty-three-year-old Jasmine Miller, of Detroit, said that she pays $800 a month for health insurance to cover herself and her son. Miller, who describes herself as a humanitarian, said that health care is among the issues she cares about most.
“It should be a universal standard for health care,” said Miller, who prefers Democrats. “If we do have to pay deductibles, at least let our premiums be lower.”
Christopher Edwards, 28, of Columbia, Missouri, said health care was among the most important issues for him as he looks ahead to the midterms.
“People sometimes get sick, and sometimes medicine is what they need,” said Edwards, who described himself as a moderate Democrat.
Majorities of young Americans also favor other types of expansion of government service, including free public college and trade school. Sixty-six percent of young Americans say they support free public college tuition. Seventy-nine percent of young Democrats and 39 percent of young Republicans are in favor. Among independents, 72 percent said they supported free tuition.
Younger people typically do not turn out for midterm elections in great numbers. According to the new poll, more than half of young voters say voting in the upcoming midterms is very important, but just 32 percent of those who will be old enough say they’re certain to cast a ballot.
Jannette Ramirez, 27, of Winter Haven, Florida, said she would “probably” vote in November’s elections, but she was unsure how much impact her vote would have.
“I can vote all day long, every day, 30 times a day and still my opinion wouldn’t matter,” said Ramirez, who described herself as a political moderate.
Liberal Democrats are more excited than other young people about participating in the political process, according to the poll. Seventy-six percent said they are reading and watching news about November’s elections, compared with 58 percent of young Americans overall. Similarly, 71 percent of liberal young Democrats called voting in the midterms very important, compared with 54 percent of young Americans overall.
Miller, who is a tax preparer, said that while she will absolutely vote in November’s election, she’s frustrated by the tone of politics today.
“It’s more like a big high school argument,” she said.