Young Voters

The Youth Vote & The 2010 Midterm: Millennials Continue to Vote, Break for Democrats

For a segment of the electorate that was largely hyped by the mainstream media as being disinterested and disaffected, Millennial voters turned out to the 2010 polls in solid numbers. Almost nine million Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 voted in yesterday's elections. In the last midterm, almost 10 million people in the same age group voted. According to a report by CIRCLE, "An estimated 20.4 percent of young Americans under the age of 30 voted in Tuesday’s midterm elections, compared to 23.5 percent in the last midterm election (2006)."

According to NDN Fellow and Millennial Expert Morley Wiinograd, "While the Millennial vote percent turnout was down from 2006, it was not down where youth outreach efforts were in place."  In fact, CIRCLE analysis shows us that we saw an increase in youth turnout in places where the Vote Again 2010 coalition (comprised of more than 30 non-profits focused on youth engagement) is highly active. In these areas where specific investment was made in the youth vote, youth turnout rose by six points compared to 1998. In contrast, we witnessed a decrease in voter turnout in the seven states where the Vote Again 2010 Coalition organizations were least active. For more data on these efforts and their effects, visit 

Rock the Vote, in their analysis echoed this sentment: “In the precincts where Rock the Vote and other groups invested in young people, we saw an increase in turnout," said Heather Smith, the group's Executive Director. "There was no ‘enthusiasm gap.’ It was a ‘leadership gap.’” According to Rock the Vote, "Vote tallies from  precincts where Rock the Vote aggressively targeted young people such as Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida, showed voter turnout amongst those ages 18-29 exceeded 2006 levels." You can read more about Rock the Vote's targeted efforts here:

Perhaps more interesting than the rates at which this demographic turned out is who they turned out for.  Young voters resisted the Republican "wave." In fact, this was the only age demographic that Republicans did not win.  And although they maintain their allegiance to Democrats (even without President Obama on the ballot - an erroneous distinction made by many pundits when predicting young voter enthusiasm) many in the youth community feel that the youth vote opportunity was not maximized by either party.  According to  Smith,"Candidates in both parties failed to really engage young people in their races.  Republicans failed to attract increased numbers of young voters, and it could have been a very different outcome for Democrats had their candidates implemented the lessons from 2008's winning playbook."

What each party learns from these numbers will be a story to watch moving into 2012.

Center for the Millennial Era

Led by Fellows Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais, authors of the critically acclaimed book, Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, & The Future of American Politics, NDN continues to be a leading voice on the Millennial Generation – those born between 1982 and 2003 -- and the profound attitudinal shifts of this generation, the largest and most progressive in American history.

Are Young Superdelegates Following Trends Of Young Voters? A Street Team '08 Report

Over at MTV I explore the question of young Superdelegates and if they are following the trends of the 2008 youth vote.

Read the full post here:

There is a lot of talk about young voter turnout and about Superdelegates these days. Young people have emerged as a critical bloc of voters. The media, candidates and many naysayers of the youth vote are finally giving them and the issues they care about attention on the campaign trail.

It got me thinking-are the young Superdelegates following the trends of young voters and how much has the youth vote increased this year?

I decided to take a look at all the primary and caucus states that have voted so far in order to get a good sense as to the young voter trends-increase in turnout, preference of candidate, preference of Party-and then compare that to the Superdelegates under 36 that have come out as "pledged" to a certain candidate.

Trends of Party Preference: The Shift to Democrats

Young people are overwhelmingly going for Democrats this election cycle, following a trend since 2000. Mike Connery, a blogger over at Future Majority, put together this nifty graphic that shows the growing Democratic advantage among young people.



As you can see, already in 2008, young people are voting 65% for Democrats and only 34% for Republicans (it's actually up to 68% now since a few more states have come in after Mike created this graph as you will see later in this post).

Democrats have a 31% vote advantage headed into the Presidential elections not to mention all the down ballot races for Senate, House of Representative, Mayor, etc. this will affect.

While this is great news for the Democrats, it is not so good news for Republicans. But--and a big but at that--Democrats should be forewarned. Republicans had the youth vote during the Reagan years. Almost 60% of the young people then voted for Republicans and continued to vote for Republicans as a bloc of voters.

However, Republicans stopped talking to future groups of young people and it shows now in their numbers. If Democrats want a lasting majority, they need to continue targeted programs at young people or risk losing a big chunk of the electorate in the future. While young people make up about 21% of the electorate now, they will be 30% of the electorate by 2012 and that is a bloc of voters that can very easily swing elections.

State by State Breakdown: Over 4 Million Strong and Growing

Across the board young people have increased their votes in almost every state except in NY there was no increase. The average number of young people voting in a state in 2004 was 46,373. The average in this election cycle is 174,646. That is more than tripling the number of votes cast for 18-29 year olds. This is remarkable since many youth voting experts could have predicted a 15-20% jump, but no one predicted a 200% plus jump.



Read the full post here:

Jane Fleming Kleeb is the Executive Director of the Young Voter PAC which helps Democratic candidates and State Parties win with the 18-35 year-old vote through endorsements, on-the-ground support, training, strategy and money. She is a regular on Fox and is part of MTV’s Street Team ‘08 representing Nebraska.

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