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There’s a lot on our minds these days: The next presidential election is on the horizon; the past year has seen violent protests against police brutality and rallies over same-sex marriage laws; and recent data breaches mean our identities are at risk just by swiping a debit card.

PrintWith all of these important issues, the exclusive Rare Under 40 poll takes the pulse of younger Americans and examines how their opinions compare with older generations. This in-depth scientific survey asked a range of cultural questions, looking for insights on race, religion, politics, same-sex marriage, climate change and the direction of our country.

Overall, the Rare Under 40 poll revealed some surprising (and not-so-surprising) answers.

Most Americans are pessimistic about the direction of our country — but generations under 40 and over 40 are divided about whether they’re better or worse off than eight years ago.

The majority of Americans of all ages don’t think it’s OK for police to profile on the basis of race or ethnicity — but most trust police to do the right thing. The survey also shows that Americans mostly agree that racism is a major problem for the United States.

But there are some differences of opinion across the generations.

Those under 40 were more likely to say our culture discriminates against them than those over 40. Younger people are more open to candidates who support same-sex marriage and also more open to marrying someone of another race. Americans under 40 are less likely to say the U.S. is a Christian nation, and most were against a hypothetical proposal to make Christianity the country’s official religion. They are also more likely to think climate change will affect them during their lifetime.

“Younger voters have a much more liberal view on things like climate change, and a secular view on things like religion,” said Doug Kaplan, managing partner of Gravis Marketing, the nonpartisan market research firm that conducted the Rare Under 40 poll. “The question long term is if the Republican coalition of libertarian, voters, financial conservatives and evangelicals can hold together. The Democrats have the same issue with African-Americans, young voters and Hispanics. The 2016 election will be a great test of these coalitions.”

Over the next several days, we’ll explore 24 questions in-depth, taking a close look at the difference between age groups while also taking a close look at key demographic differences such as political party, race and education. It’s also an opportunity to revisit the previous Rare Under 40 poll, which found young people hold surprising views on Obama, marijuana, God and more.

About the poll

From April 27 to May 5, Gravis Marketing, a nonpartisan research firm, conducted a random survey of 2,261 voters in the United States regarding current issues that impact the political and social landscape. The poll was conducted using Gravis Marketing Internet Panels and Gravis Automated Calls to landlines and cellphones on behalf of online media outlet Rare.US. Overall, the poll has a margin of error of ±2 percentage points and was weighted by select demographic characteristics. The general scope of the Gravis Marketing poll was to capture opinions of registered voters under the age of 40 on political, social, religious, and economic issues. The poll included a group of 52% female registered voters and 48% male voters of all ages across the United States. Before the data were weighted to fairly represent results, 38% of those polled stated they were members of the Democratic Party, while 32% identified as Republicans and 29% as ‘independent’ voters.