Young voters in both countries hold libertarian views on cultural issues. They tend to favor same-sex marriage and legalized marijuana, while the elderly tend to be strongly opposed. But there is an apparent difference on economic issues.
Americans under 30 tend to support big government policies more than their elders. They’re likely to tell pollsters that government should do more to solve problems — a position rejected by most American voters over the last 30 years. This Millennial Generation was also far more likely to support Barack Obama, who won 66 percent of their votes in 2008 and 60 percent in 2012. Obama carried older voters by only 1 percent in 2008 and lost them to Mitt Romney in 2012.
Young Brits seem to take a different view. In British Social Attitudes surveys, they reject the policy of government-paid residential care for the elderly and express approval for big companies. They were born into a Britain where Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives privatized state industries and sold public housing units to tenants. They evidently dislike paying high taxes to support the currently scandal-plagued National Health Services (“ring-fenced” or spared from spending cuts, by the coalition government). And they seem to heartily support the coalition’s cuts in welfare spending. They may have a hard time finding jobs, and they resent those who are sponging off the government for life.
Conservatives have hopes of winning more Millennial votes in 2015. The most popular political figure among the young is London’s Conservative and libertarian Mayor Boris Johnson.