Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

Youths Carry the Vote, Research Study Says

ARCHIVES
Image via Peeradach Rattanakoses/Shutterstock.com

The millennial generation provided at least 80 electoral votes for President Barack Obama last Tuesday.

More than 22 million voters ages 18 to 29 cast ballots in this election.

Peter Levine, director at the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University said voter turnout for young people tallied at least 49 percent, creating a new normal for voter demographics in the U.S. He said he expects the percentage to increase to as much as 51 percent as more results are released.

In 2008, youth voter turnout was 52 percent.

Data source: Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

Youth turnout matched the turnout results of 2008 statistically, but youths also increased their electoral representation in this election, Levine said.

Although the percentage of young voters was similar to the 2008 election, young voters were able to create a more influential role in the electoral college, increasing youth representation as an electoral stronghold.

In 2008, young voters represented 18 percent of the voting population, which is 1 percent less than current youth voter share estimates.

Levine said the single percentage increase to 19 percent means young voters were more represented in the electorate this election year than previous years.

Heather Smith, president of Rock the Vote, said this year’s election proves that the millennial generation cares about the election and wants to be heard.

“I think we’ve now established a very fairly decent pattern that this generation is different than their older brothers and sisters and can put those rumors about youth to bed,” Smith said.

Levine said if youth voters did not participate in the election in Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida, or if former governor Mitt Romney had won half of the youth vote, these states would have flipped from blue to red.

He said losing the youth vote lost the election for Romney.

“It is because he lost the youth group pretty decisively that he is not going to be the next president,” Levine said.

An estimated 17 million youths have turned 18 since the last election, granting them eligibility to vote.

Smith said she expected youth voter turnout to be lower.

“We knew all along that they cared,” she said, “but the campaign was just different than 2008.”

Levine and Smith said some youth voters were confused about the election, and the campaigns didn’t treat young people well.

“An awful lot of young people were confused about policy issues, and I think that this was a very confusing campaign to follow,” Levine said.

CIRCLE polling data showed that there was a decline in youth voter enthusiasm in this election, Levine said. Despite possible confusion and lack of enthusiasm, voters still turned up.

“They may not have been enthusiastic or happy about the campaign, but they were persistent,” Levine said.

From 2000 to 2004, youth voter turnout increased from 41 percent to 48 percent, indicating that voter turnout has consistently increased regardless of which candidates were running for president.

“Yesterday, young Americans showed up, voted and made it clear that they are the generation that will take our country forward,” Smith said.

(Image via Peeradach Rattanakoses/Shutterstock.com)

Tanya Parker is a senior broadcast journalism and Spanish student at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. Originally from Perry, Ohio, Tanya is the producer of Athens’ local entertainment news program, “Straight Up!” Tanya has also reported, anchored and produced for “Athens Midday,” and served as the multimedia producer for the online environmental magazine, College Green Magazine, for one year. In addition to broadcast, Tanya worked as the Wit & Banter columnist at The Post, an independent, student-run newspaper at Ohio University.

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.