Waiting for the Youth Vote

The sun comes up, the sun goes down, and young voters stay home in presidential elections. Three observations that remain true today.

Here’s the data so far on the much ballyhooed “youth” vote.

Pew finds 19% of registered voters falling in the 18-30 years-old category, and 15% among likely voters – this is essentially unchanged from 2004 (19% and 14%).  Gallup has almost identical figures: it estimates that 18 to 29-year-olds constitute 12% of likely voters (14% in their expanded model).  That’s also almost identical to their final pre-election poll (13%) in 2004. They conclude that as a proportion of overall voters, we are unlikely to see an increase in the youth vote this year.

If Obama is basing his victory on higher than expected youth turnout, he’s never seen me try to get my teenage boys out of bed before noon on a Saturday.

Not going to happen.


  1. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to learn that the pollsters who show a significant Obama edge are not assuming an increased youth turnout.

  2. Despite these data regarding the “youth vote,” are there any data on whether these individuals are donating more to political campaigns than in prior elections? And, specifically, are they financially supporting Obama more than past Democratic presidential candidates?

    Also, Saturday at noon is for whimps. Try 2pm!

  3. If anyone has data on contributions from the younger crowd, let me know. I’ll do a quick check. (Nice to see that Max is awake before noon.)

    Understatement makes an excellent point: Gallup is projecting an 11% Obama victory, but not based on expectation of an increase in the youth vote. Instead, it is almost entirely based on projected record turnout among African-Americans, as well as low voting by Republicans.

    Again, this points to the importance of the respective GOTV’s…

  4. At least the vast majority of students from swing states at Middlebury are registered…and as we all know, Middlebury WILL make the difference!

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