For American teenagers, their political coming of age has been a tumultuous one. They’ve seen the boundary-breaking candidacies of women and people of color, and the norm-shattering presidency of Donald Trump. They’ve lived through racial justice protests, a pandemic, and attacks on American democracy.

Research shows that a voting generation is typically shaped for life by what happens politically in their teen years and early 20s. What have teenagers taken away from all this? We asked 604 of them, ages 13 to 17, from around the country, in a poll by Dynata for The New York Times. A little more than half the teenagers surveyed were girls. And nearly half were Black, Hispanic, Native American or Asian-American. (We talked to more of them because Generation Z will be the first in which nearly half of the electorate is nonwhite.)

The survey revealed a generation of soon-to-be voters who felt disillusioned by government and politics,…

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