For the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS), we polled 2,300 U.S. high school students and graduates from  to learn their thoughts on the midterms and a host of related issues. This led to some interesting insights into the values that future members of society see as their top priorities.

Students ranked the top issues of concern to them:

1. Racial Equity

2. Environment

3. Inflation and the Economy

4. Abortion Rights

The relative importance of these issues varied greatly by gender: The most important issue for young women was racial equity; for men, inflation; and for the nonbinary, LGBTQ+ rights, 15% of young women ranked abortion rights as their #1 issue, compared to 6% of the young men, and 8% of the nonbinary respondents. The second most important issue for all three groups was the environment, and when it comes to being a political candidate, virtually all that matters (73%) to Gen Z is integrity, with traits like relatability, likeability, and being a great public speaker trailing far behind. More than one-third plan to seek public office in the future, 14% at the federal level, 12% at the state level, and 12% locally.

Read more about this study on NSHSS.

Author Notes:

Jeffrey Henning

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Jeffrey Henning, IPC is a professionally certified researcher and has personally conducted over 1,400 survey research projects. Jeffrey is a member of the Insights Association and the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers. In 2012, he was the inaugural winner of the MRA’s Impact award, which “recognizes an industry professional, team or organization that has demonstrated tremendous vision, leadership, and innovation, within the past year, that has led to advances in the marketing research profession.” In 2022, the Insights Association named him an IPC Laureate. Before founding Researchscape in 2012, Jeffrey co-founded Perseus Development Corporation in 1993, which introduced the first web-survey software, and Vovici in 2006, which pioneered the enterprise-feedback management category. A 35-year veteran of the research industry, he began his career as an industry analyst for an Inc. 500 research firm.