SEASIDE >> For former Secretary of State Leon Panetta, who has been dedicated to encouraging young people engage in public service, the 2017 survey of American college students attitudes has some kernels of optimism in the midst of discouraging results.
Commissioned by The Panetta Institute for Public Policy, the survey reveals strong dissatisfaction with the political system and the 2016 election results, but the data also reveals students are more interested and engaged in politics than ever.
About 69 percent of respondents for the survey, conducted between April 27 and May 2, said that politics are either very or fairly relevant in their life – up 10 points from 59 percent in 2016. Forty-four percent of respondents said this election has made them more rather than less interested in being involved in politics.
“It is encouraging to see that,” Panetta said. “Despite the fact that students are tremendously dissatisfied with the country’s leadership and feel that the country is headed in the wrong direction, there’s been a dramatic increase in their belief that politics can be relevant to their lives and that they can make a difference. That’s something I think is very important here for both major parties to pay attention to, that young people really can represent a major force in American politics.”
And this likely major force in national politics could be further alienated by a Republican agenda that’s determined to dismantle the Affordable Care Act –…
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