Civic Activity

Survey Ranks Political Issues Most Important to Young West Virginians

Photo by Theresa Thompson/FlickrCC

Photo by Theresa Thompson/FlickrCC

Inspire West Virginia has surveyed more than 1,000 high school students on what political issues are most important to them.

In the first ever survey of what political issues high school-aged West Virginians care about most, college affordability, poverty, job creation and health care have emerged as the hot button topics.

The survey, conducted in 2015 by Inspire West Virginia, asked more than 1,000 students aged 16 – 18 to rank the subjects that, as a future voter, were most important to them.

Not surprisingly, College Affordability came out on top, followed by an equal grouping of Poverty/Job Creation, Healthcare, K-12 Education and Military Strength.

Inspire West Virginia is a nonpartisan organization with a mission of encouraging young people to vote and be engaged in their community.

Inspire West Virginia conducted the survey to gain a better understanding of what issues would motivate high school students to register to vote, and remain engaged in the political process.

The full list, in descending order:

  1. College Affordability
    =2. Poverty/Job Creation
    =2. Healthcare
    =2. K-12 Education
    =2. Military Strength.
    =6. Information Privacy
    =6. Criminal Justice System/Prisons
    =6. Gun Rights/Laws
  2. Social Security
    =10. Racism
    =10. Gender Equality
  3. Bullying
    13. Environmental Issues
    =14. Neighborhood Safety
    =14. Taxes
  4. Immigration
  5. Food Stamps/Welfare
  6. LGBTQ+ Issues

Young Voter Participation

In 2012, West Virginians aged 18-to-24 voted at the lowest rate of any age group in the country.

However, nearly 70,000 Mountaineers aged 17-to-29 voted in the 2016 West Virginia primaries, a notable increase from previous years.

With roughly 25 percent of this age group voting in the primaries, it’s likely an even larger number will turnout for the November 8 general election.

Who To Talk To:

Inspire West Virginia
Email: Program Coordinator Kathryn Long

Related Content:

Young West Virginians Most Likely to Use Online Voter Registration

Study: The Youth Vote, by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

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