Teens politically engaged

American teens have little confidence in their elected leaders, but take seriously their duty to participate in the political process, a new study says.

Conducted by Harris Interactive’s Youth and Education Research Practice, the study is based on surveys of almost 2,000 youth ages 13 to 18.

While fewer than two in 10 teens said they were very confident that the 2006 elections in their home states would be fair, and only 7 percent believed politicians were honest, more than three in four said they planned to vote when they were old enough.

The majority of youth take a dim view of the federal government, the study says, with six in 10 saying it needs better moral leadership and almost as many believing most elected officials would take bribes if they could get away with it.

Teens question the effectiveness of politicians as well, with about eight in 10 saying elected officials are failing to make positive changes in their communities and a similar number saying politicians don’t care about issues affecting youth.

Despite their pessimism, more than half of teens say it is important that they and their peers stay involved in the political process, and a similar number say they sometimes talk about politics, candidates or elections with family and friends

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