A Hill-HarrisX poll conducted March 16-17, 2019 found that 57% of registered voters were opposed to the idea of giving Americans $1,000 a month.
The proposal, championed by internet sensation and democratic candidate Andrew Yang, received support from 55% of voters between 18 and 34, and 53% of voters between 35 and 49. Only a fifth of voters over the age of 65 viewed UBI favorably.
The poll also divided voters by generation, showing millennials to be the most supportive, with 58% in favor. Each preceding generation was less approving: GenX – 48%, Boomers – 30%, and Silent – 27%. 45% of GenZ voters supported the proposal. Sampling size could be an issue for this metric, as only 42 people were counted among the youngest generation.
Yang responded to the results of the poll, and said they fit with what he has observed while campaigning. He is hopeful that as his message spreads, and the looming threats of automation enter the public conversation, support among all age groups will increase.
The poll also confirms my own experiences while discussing UBI with people across the generational divides. Generally, people 50+ think it’s a mistake to decouple income from labor. An elderly friend, and author of a history of the market collapse of ’08, said, “there will always be jobs,” and its fear-mongering to suggest otherwise.
This is something that I sometimes wonder about. Right now, our whole conception of work has been influenced by generations of support for the profit motive, competition, and the race to success. I think this makes it difficult – if not impossible – to imagine the types of work people might pursue if the quasi-techno-luxury-communist-utopia of UBI comes to be. My generation, those before me, and the one coming up have been living an ideology where value is tied to production, specifically through the means of others. Maybe, it’ll be our children’s children who can image what liberated work can be.
Anyway, please take my survey.