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#underZtanding. Zoomers and politics

Friday, November 20, 2020

Hey all, it’s #FreshShlaganov with a new article for the UnderZtanding section, where we try to understand the generation that will shape the nearest decade — Generation Z.

In view of the events both in my homeland in Belarus and in the USA, I think it will be more important than ever to understand the attitude of zoomers to politics. Are they interested in it? And if so, what ideas govern them? Buckle up and let's get started!

Startup Jedi

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Zoomers are very political

Zoomers, despite their young age, are very interested in politics — they seem to feel that if they don’t take action themselves or talk about things that worry them, no one else will do it for them.

The recent survey published by PLOS ONE, found that nearly 40% of Americans were stressed by politics. Younger respondents were much more likely to report that politics had a negative impact on them.

This may be due to uncertainty and the first “adult” problems that the elders of the Zoomers are starting to face. Most of them do not yet have clear career and personal goals, let alone a plan to achieve them. Perhaps this adds up to their anxiety.


Zoomers and politics

Most are leftist

Zoomers are very similar to millennials in their views on key social and political issues. Pew Research Center polls of Americans aged 13 and older showed that, like millennials, Gen Zers share more left-wing political views. They are more pro-government (70% think the government should do more to solve problems, compared to 64% of millennials and less than 50% of boomers), most approve of increasing racial and ethnic diversity, and they are less likely to see the US as better than other countries.

According to a Harris Poll poll, the top three factors in the zoomers’ selection of the candidates they support were their positions on mass murder, racial equality and immigration policy.

The position of both left and right zoomers on marijuana is unambiguous — according to polls, 80% supports legalization.

Zoomers can be quite provocative in their views. For example, there is a large movement that believes older people should be denied the right to vote. They are sure that older people do not vote for the future, as they will soon die, and therefore ignore many important and long-term problems, such as climate.

The priority issues for Zoomers are:

  • Environmental problems — 54% believes that the Earth is getting warmer due to human activities, 60% cite climate change as the most important problem, and 66% say that its solution requires urgent action;

  • Poverty and hunger — according to Cone Communications research, almost 30% of Zoomers believed that solving the problem of poverty and hunger is more important than economic growth;

  • Violation of human rights — Pew research, for example, has shown that 74% of Zoomers believe LGBT rights should be the priority for companies (only 65% thought so in 2017).


Zoomers and politics

They are ready to act, not just speak

Gen Zers don’t just state their views, they are also willing to express them with concrete actions. Thus, zoomers actively support companies whose values coincide with theirs: 85% of them share positive opinions about the company online, 84% buy only from companies with a clear social or environmental mission, 84% try to buy from companies that offer them new ways to contribute to solving global problems.

Most often, Zoomers perform the following activities:

  • 83% volunteer;

  • 82% sign petitions;

  • 81% donate to charity;

  • 77% boycott companies’ products;

  • 77% share information in social networks;

  • 67% protest.

80% believe they can influence problem-solving using social media, and 64% consider coverage and calling for problem solving online to be the most effective method.

A cool example of the political activism of the Zoomers is their boycott of Trump’s election rally in the summer of 2020. As can be seen from the priorities listed above, Zoomers do not like Donald Trump very much — only 22% of voters aged 18 to 23 believe that he is doing his job well. An expression of this dissatisfaction was, for example, the massive prank in Oklahoma, where TikTok users and K-pop music fans sabotaged his election rally — they registered for free tickets but did not attend the event.


What to expect next?

Obviously, zoomers are much closer to liberal ideas now. It can be said that they are still too young and that all generations get more conservative with age, but Gen Z is so different that even if they become a little more conservative, they will change the political environment significantly.

Thus, even zoomers who identify themselves as Republicans support ideas such as legalizing marijuana (which I wrote about earlier) and greater government intervention in solving problems (which has never been typical for Republicans). If young Republicans remain consistent in their beliefs as they get older, they will shift the Republican Party towards a more left-wing ideology.

Some speculate that the 2020 Great Isolation will also contribute to the shift to a stronger role for the state, drawing parallels with the economic collapse of 1929, after which the role of the state grew until the 1970s.

These are the zoomers:

  • Very politically active;

  • Leftist;

  • Concerned about the environment, poverty and hunger, and human rights violations;

  • Ready to defend their views not only in words, but also in deeds, and in most cases — with a very creative approach).

I hope this article was interesting and helpful. Stay tuned!

20 Nov 2020


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