US & World

Opinion surveys suggest generational divide on range of issues

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This Independence Day weekend Americans may consider themselves “one nation, indivisible.” But a new survey by the Pew Research Center Poll suggests striking social divisions along generational lines.

Paul Taylor, who heads the center’s Social and Demographic Trends Project, told KPCC’s "Patt Morrison" that more people admitted to a major generation gap in this year’s poll than did when the Gallup Organization asked whether one existed 40 years ago.

Paul Taylor: “This despite the fact that whatever else is going on in our society we don’t have the kind of overt confrontations between the generations now that we had back then. We don’t have kids taking over college campuses or marching in the streets to protest the Vietnam War, or the kind of in your face movement around changing sexual mores, etc., etc., but something clearly is going on.”

Taylor said the divide is most apparent in attitudes towards women’s rights, gay rights, and technology. The generations also diverged in last November’s presidential election – older voters tended to choose Republican John McCain while younger ones, by and large, went with Democrat Barack Obama.