Young voter turnout increases from 2008 to 2012

Young voter participation in the 2012 election jumped 1 percentage point from 2008 levels, although young voters were slightly less likely to vote for President Barack Obama than in 2008.

Youth eligible to vote are estimated to be around 21 percent of the population and around 19 of those 21 percent voted this year, which is an extraordinarily high turnout given the difficulties associated with voter registration and voting absentee.

The statistic is especially surprising given that most major media outlets and pollsters, including The Associated Press, the Huffington Post and Pew Research, reported a significant expected drop in youth enthusiasm and participation for 2012.

In fact, Generation Opportunity, a polling company that gears its efforts toward young people, was the only organization that actually predicted an increase in voter participation for 2012.

“It has been completely underestimated so far,” Conway told RedAlertPolitics in a phone interview one month before the election. “Enthusiasm is absolutely not down, it is as high as 2008.”

Among the young people who voted, Obama experienced a 6 percent drop in support compared with 2008 levels. In 2008, 66 percent of young people voted for Obama and only 31 percent voted for Republican candidate John McCain. This year, Obama received 60 percent of the youth vote in contrast to Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s 37 percent, according to The New York Times Exit Polls.

Nevertheless, 60 percent is 60 percent and Obama carried the election on the backs of American youth.

Young people represented at least 80 electoral votes in the 2012 elections, according to analysis done by The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE).

If young people had stayed home on Tuesday, Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania would have swung solidly red, CIRCLE said in a press release.

In all four states, Obama carried the two age brackets 18-29 and 30-44 by a large margin while Romney carried the older age brackets 45-64 and 65+.

This is yet another confirmation that if a candidate is able to carry the youth, he is liable to carry the election, as Obama has shown for the second time.

But, the 6 percent drop in Obama support also shows that young people are willing and able to fluctuate in their ideas about particular issues, parties and candidates, depending on the political and economic circumstances.

This ability offers a huge potential for future candidates to have the chance to tap into the the things that matter most for young people, regardless of party affiliation.

Comments

Comments

  1. cjb says:

    Just goes to show the younger generation probably either have some sort of assistance from the Gov’t or live at home, and think if Romney was elected suddenly their support would go away. How sad this World has become, to allow our young people to be swayed by such lies.

    1. joe says:

      You lost – suck it up – get over it – The majority of people in the U.S. who voted, supported Obama. Democrats have won the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 presidential elections (Bush won courtesy of the packed Supreme court in spite of being outpolled by Gore by more than half a million votes).

      We govern effectively – you crash the economy.

      It’s the message of the extremists in the Republican party that is to blame for your pathetic showing in the Senate race. You toss out reasonable voices (Castle, Lugar et al.) and replace them with nut jobs that no moderate person can support. You could have easily won control of the Senate twice now, but have chewed off your own paws by picking foaming at the mouth lunatics. Keep it up, we’llj ust keep governing.

    2. joe says:

      You lost – suck it up – get over it – The majority of people in the U.S. who voted, supported Obama. Democrats have won the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 presidential elections (Bush won courtesy of the packed Supreme court in spite of being outpolled by Gore by more than half a million votes).

      We govern effectively – you crash the economy.

      It’s the message of the extremists in the Republican party that is to blame for your pathetic showing in the Senate race. You toss out reasonable voices (Castle, Lugar et al.) and replace them with nut jobs that no moderate person can support. You could have easily won control of the Senate twice now, but have chewed off your own paws by picking foaming at the mouth lunatics. Keep it up, we’ll just keep governing.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Your math is off. If youth represent 21% of electorate and 19% of voters, it doesn’t mean necessarily that a lot of them came out. In fact, it means that proportionally fewer young people came out than old people.

Polititainment

Obama channels Chris Rock again

At rallies for Democrats in Maryland and Illinois on Sunday, Obama dropped the name "Cousin Pookie" -- a character that he used frequently to energize black voters during his 2008 campaign -- during his speeches.

Oliver beats Supreme Court's camera ban
Comedian John Oliver is sick of the Supreme Court ban on cameras in the court room and the ridiculous ways it makes television news stations have to cover those cases. But all hope is not lost. “What happens at the Supreme Court is way too important not to pay attention to and yet the ban […]
Stewart and Colbert go after 'Fangate'

Both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had a field day with “Fangate” Thursday night.

O'Reilly v Stewart on 'white privilege'

Jon Stewart had one goal in bringing Bill O’Reilly on his show Tuesday evening: "I want you to admit that there is such a thing as white privilege."

Galifianakis gives Obama a nickname
Zach Galifianakis once came up with a very special nickname for President Obama, he recounted on “The Daily Show” Tuesday night. It all started when Galifianakis came to the White House to film the Emmy-winning “Between Two Ferns” episode to promote Obamacare. “Before we went to interview the president, I ate in the White House […]

White House

President Obama, unpaid bills and the curious editing of the White House transcript
President Obama, some unpaid bills and a curiously “inaudible” section of the White House recording of a speech — that’s how all good stories start, right? While at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Chicago, Obama cracked a joke about the “unpaid bills” at his home. The joke was reported by the White House Press […]
Secrecy shrouds how the Obamas cook their chicken wings

Now it seems the Obamas are tight-lipped even about their eating habits.

Obama delivers devastating blow to red state Democrats, calls them ‘all folks who vote with me’
President Obama can’t seem to stay out of the 2014 midterm elections, no matter how much his fellow Democrats want him to. Obama spoke on Al Sharpton’s radio show Monday, which was later replayed on MSNBC, insisting that red state Democrats are still his “strong allies.” “A lot of the states that are contested this time […]
Obama reveals his favorite Supreme Court decision

President Obama dished on his favorite Supreme Court decision during his presidency, and it wasn’t either of his interviewer’s top guesses.

Poll: Obama less ‘effective’ at ‘managing basic functions’ of government than George W. Bush
Since his popularity and approval ratings began to slide during his second term, former President George W. Bush has served as a scapegoat for Democrats and current President Obama. Bush’s name has been invoked with almost every negative event that has come America’s way. But it seems that the “blame Bush” strategy hasn’t made the […]

Congress

Republicans say they will reform the IRS

Republicans are talking about reforming the IRS if they gain the majority in the Senate next month, but seem to be treading with caution on making any specific promises.

'Wastebook' finds $25B in 'unnecessary' spending
Monkey gambling, synchronized swimming sea monkeys, and mountain lions on treadmills, oh my! Sen. Tom Coburn (R – Okla.) released his fifth and final “Wastebook” Wednesday, chronicling $25 billion tax dollars spent on 100  “silly, unnecessary, and low priority projects” this year. His findings are absolutely astonishing. Coburn, who is retiring this year, is not letting his fellow […]
Dems target Republicans as extremists on ed issues

Democrats this election cycle are working hard to paint their Republican opponents as wild extremists who would slash all funding for student loans.

Udall struggles to think of his favorite books

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) seemed a bit rattled in his recent interview with ABC 7 News.

Rand Paul: W.H. hasn’t accurately described Ebola
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told Bloomberg politics he believes that the White House has been inaccurately depicting the risks of contracting Ebola. “I think from the very beginning they haven’t been completely forthright with us,” said Paul. “They’ve so wanted to downplay this that they really I don’t think have been very accurate in their […]