"Prince of Polling" Provides Insightful Analysis Into Millennial Generation

"Prince of Polling" Provides Insightful Analysis Into Millennial Generation

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Maha Neouchy
February 10, 2014

The Washington Center (TWC) was pleased to welcome John Zogby, an internationally respected pollster, opinion leader, and best-selling author, to its first Simpson Mineta Leadership Series of the spring 2014 semester. Zogby, founder of the "Zogby Poll" and Zogby companies, discussed his new book, The First Globals: Understanding, Managing, and Unleashing Our Millennial Generation, which provides insightful analysis into the generation of Americans born between 1979 and 1994. He refers to Millennials as “First Globals” because of their global outlook on the world compared to generations of Americans who came before them.


Zogby first became interested in polling First Globals when he was commissioned by the Foreign Policy Association to do a series of polls on the United States in relation to the rest of the world. Creating three surveys consisting of 300 different questions, Zogby polled over 3,000 Americans on questions including:


  • Is America a lone superpower?
  • Does America have the right or authority to intervene in issues of national interest or issues that are not of natural interest?
  • Is American culture inherently superior?

What Zogby found was completely unexpected. Almost all Americans 30 years and older share a fundamentally similar view of the United States with the exception of a few minor nuances. However, after surveying First Globals, they fell on the other side of the spectrum and disagreed with the concept of the United States as a leading superpower or the idea that the U.S. is inherently superior to other societies and cultures. Zogby then discussed two major reasons behind his findings: the first is the unbelievable access to technology and the second is the great recession of 2007.


While First Globals are better versed in technology than any other age group, they are also dealing with no guarantee of employment after graduation, living in one of the toughest economies since the Great Depression, and little to no job security. In comparison to previous generations, Zogby concluded that First Globals have some serious advantages: their impatience and sense of immediacy, which fuels them to be better problem-solvers and team-builders.


Spring 2014 Interns Participate in Q&A with the "Prince of Polling"


Maisie Baldwin, a student at Drury University and intern at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, was intrigued about implications of emerging technological warfare, such as drones. She asked Zogby if "Millennials will continue their trends of global unity or do you think that more factions will begin emerging?"


Zogby: There is always a potential for global factionalism, but because of emerging technologies, it becomes easier to see each other and get to know each other better. With that in mind, I see a real potential for global networks that are fast, nimble, and have a greater problem-solving focus.


Joanna Payoyo, a student at the University of Calgary and intern at Pyramid Atlantic, was drawn to the topic of entrepreneurship. She informed Zogby that a reaction the Canadian government had in response to entrepreneurship was putting a greater focus on small businesses and providing incentives: "As an entrepreneur in the U.S., what kind of support do Americans have in terms of organizations and funding?"


Zogby: Many entrepreneurship initiatives in the U.S. are not top-down, but are actually in your local communities. If you go to your universities they can help you identify them. You can also go to local community foundations because they will usually have a mandate. Many have 100 to 125-year-old endowments that were created by wealthy families. There are also other resources that can be found at local United Ways, development agencies, as well as within every single state, which is required to promote entrepreneurship as a part of their economic development initiatives."


Tyler Boyce, a student at the University of San Diego and intern in the Office of Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), asked about the impact of global activity on the U.S. He wondered if an increase in global activity should be considered more of "a smoke screen or if it should be considered actual and real civic engagement? How do we know whether or not that engagement is genuine?"


Zogby: If everything else is changing, so is civic engagement. 20 years ago, I was part of the group of people saying that the Internet is atomizing us. It's turning us inward and isolating us from our fellow human beings. But I was wrong; the Internet has done what global technology has done. It brought us together. Now I have a social network all over the world. We are sociable human beings and have aspirations to make this world a better place. When the earthquake happened in Haiti, Nextel raised hundreds of millions of dollars through young people. How do I know it was young people? Because I tried to do it four times and I couldn’t.



The Simpson-Mineta Leaders Series (SMLS) is part of The Washington Center's (TWC) Monday programming and aims to create a forum in which students from around the country and the world can engage with extraordinary leaders, explore issues of contemporary public concern, and articulate their own views about leadership and citizenship in today's society. During these special events, students have the opportunity to hear from different professionals throughout the semester and are then given the option to ask questions before the end of the session.


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