Youth in crisis mode: Study: Low mood and shift to the right among the young generation

Youth in crisis mode: Study: Low mood and shift to the right among the young generation

After Corona, other crises are now clouding the mood among teenagers and young adults. A survey also shows that they are increasingly turning to the AfD.

According to a study, teenagers and young adults are becoming increasingly dissatisfied and are turning more towards the AfD. 22 percent of 14 to 29 year olds would vote for AfD if there were a federal election now. That is more than twice as many as two years ago, according to a representative survey presented for the “Youth in Germany 2024” study. In 2022, 9 percent were in favor of the AfD, last year it was 12 percent.

The younger generation is becoming more and more dissatisfied

For the study by youth researchers Simon Schnetzer, Klaus Hurrelmann and political scientist Kilian Hampel, around 2,000 young people between the ages of 14 and 29 were representatively surveyed in January and February: about their party preference, their biggest worries, and satisfaction with their personal situation (finances, health , professional opportunities) and the social situation (economy, cohesion, political conditions, quality of life in Germany). The result: Compared to surveys from previous years, the younger generation is becoming increasingly dissatisfied, especially with the socio-economic situation.

After the effects of the Corona period, economic and political concerns about the future are now in the foreground, for example because of inflation, high rents, the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East or because of a division in society, the authors write. “It seems as if the corona pandemic has left an irritation in the trust in the ability to cope with the future, which is reflected in ongoing deep uncertainty.”

Satisfaction with one’s own financial situation, professional opportunities, health and social recognition remains slightly positive overall on a scale from “very satisfied” to “very dissatisfied”, but declines can be seen everywhere. The young generation was already rather dissatisfied with economic development, social cohesion and political conditions in 2022 and 2023.

In particular, satisfaction with the political situation has fallen significantly again this year. Concerns about climate change are decreasing and are increasing when it comes to issues such as inflation, the economy and poverty in old age.

Significant shift to the right among the young population

“We can speak of a clear shift to the right among the young population,” said Hurrelmann. “While the parties in the traffic light government continue to decline in popularity, the AfD is particularly popular.”

18 percent of young people and young adults would vote for the Greens, up from 27 percent in 2022. The FDP fell in the survey from 19 to 8, the SPD lost from 14 to 12 percent. According to the survey, the Union improved among young people from 16 to 20 percent, the new Sahra Wagenknecht alliance has 5 percent. The number of people who answered “I don’t know” when asked who they would vote for increased significantly from 19 percent two years ago to 25 percent today.

What is striking is that, despite increased approval ratings for the AfD, most young people have a different opinion than the right-wing populist party on a very central issue. Only 13 percent agreed with the statement “Germany would be better off without the EU” and 56 percent disagreed. Here the opinion remained relatively stable.

According to the authors, approval for accepting many refugees has fallen significantly compared to the Shell youth study from 2019. 57 percent were in favor at the time, but in the present study it is only 26 percent. “There has obviously been a major change in opinion among the younger generation,” the authors write.

The survey gives the governing parties “a clear signal that they must also pursue an immigration and refugee policy with regard to the younger generation that promotes the positive potential of migration for the future in Germany and deals with the associated fears in a solution-oriented manner “, is it[called“Thereisobviouslyasignificantcommunicationdeficithere”

AfD scores points on Tiktok – government follows suit late

Speaking of communication: According to the study, young people simply do not take notice of those who are not active on relevant social media channels and platforms. The AfD has been active on the Tiktok video platform for a long time and has many followers there. The party reaches the young generation to a large extent. “The other parties are urgently advised to follow suit.”

The survey shows that the majority (57 percent) of teenagers and young adults find out about news and politics on social media channels. 92 percent use WhatsApp regularly, followed by Instagram (80 percent) and YouTube (77 percent). Tiktok is becoming increasingly important: 51 percent, more than half of all 14 to 29 year olds, now use the app regularly, compared to 44 percent a year ago.

The federal government is also reacting slowly: Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) recently started a Tiktok channel, as did Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). And there is now also a government WhatsApp channel that provides information about traffic light decisions and plans.

Source: Stern

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