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AARP Poll: Honesty in Government Matters Most Across Generations

Americans of all ages are looking for elected officials they can trust, survey says


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While jobs and the economy are major concerns, there’s one national issue that boomers, Gen Xers and millennials all think is more important right now: honesty in government.

According to a poll by AARP and the Association of Young Americans (AYA), 86 percent of respondents said honesty in government was very important to the future of our country, making it the top issue cited by all three generations. Jobs and the economy was close behind at 83 percent while health care came in third at 78 percent.

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“These poll results show how concerned all Americans are about politics as usual,” says Nancy LeaMond, AARP’s executive vice president and chief advocacy and engagement officer. “With the midterm elections just a few weeks away, voters will have the opportunity to have their voices heard. People need to realize that their vote counts.”

Since May, AARP has been mounting a campaign called, “Be the Difference. Vote,” which is designed to drive older voters to the polls in the midterm elections on Nov. 6. Information about key issues and voter information resources can be found at aarp.org/vote.

In the AARP/AYA survey, concerns about trustworthy elected officials and reliable job opportunities were prominent across the three generations. For millennials and Gen Xers, honesty in government and jobs and the economy were the two most important issues. Boomers also chose honesty first, but second place was a tie between jobs and the economy and Social Security, with Medicare a close third place. (Millennials chose access to a quality education as their third key issue where Gen Xers picked health care.)

All three generations were largely united in their perceptions that the nation is going in the wrong direction — 64 percent of respondents overall. Only 34 percent said the country was heading the right way.

While 70 percent of overall respondents said they were very likely to vote in next month’s midterm elections, boomers were the most committed (83 percent), followed by Gen Xers (70 percent) then millennials (55 percent).

The “Three Generations Survey” is a nationally representative poll of 1,648 millennials, 1,530 Gen Xers and 1,684 boomers. Conducted by the research organization NORC, it has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

Raise Your Voice’ on Amazon Alexa and Google Home to get AARP’s take on the issues that affect you. Then vote with confidence by signing up to get the latest election updates and reminders.

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