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Here’s good news for Democrats and liberals: the youngest generational cohort is more like us than are older voters.

A poll by The New York Times, CBS and MTV found:

“Young Americans are more likely than the general public to favor a government-run universal health care insurance system, an open-door policy on immigration and the legalization of gay marriage.”

I’m liking this young generation more and more.

The poll looked at voters aged 17 to 29. The findings are important because, as voters age, they don’t stray far from where they started. My father’s generation stuck with FDR’s Democratic Party. My generation is still split over Vietnam and the 60s. Young voters who came of age under Reagan still vote Republican today.

Best of all, 54 percent of these young voters plan to vote for a Democrat for President next year. If they vote, that is.

By 52-36, they say the Democratic Party, not Republicans, more closely represent their moral values.

On ideology, the liberal-conservative split is 28-27. It’s 20 liberal-32 conservative among all voters.

Here’s where younger voters are on the issues:

  • 44 percent believe same-sex couples should be able to get married, compared to 28 percent of all voters;

  • 62 percent favor universal, government-sponsored health insurance, compared to 47 percent;

  • 30 percent say “Americans should always welcome new immigrants,” compared to 24 percent.

There’s a surprising note, however. More than half the young voters (51 percent) think America will be successful in Iraq. Only 45 percent of adults agree. As The Times delicately explained, “Contrary to conventional wisdom, younger Americans have historically been more likely than the population as a whole to be supportive of what a President is doing in time of war.”

Ah, the idealism of youth. Even though only 28 percent approve of Bush’s job performance.

Still, it gives me hope for the future. I doubt Carter agrees.

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