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CIRCLE Updates: Youth Voting in 2014 Mid-term Elections


Updated Youth Turnout: 22.2% of Young People Voted in Midterms

According to our latest, exit-poll based estimate of youth voter turnout in last month’s elections, 22.2% of eligible young people cast a ballot On November 4.

Our youth turnout estimate has increased from 21.3% calculated on the day after the election. These estimates are based on exit polls, demographics data, and counts of vote cast; as the latter number goes up, youth turnout generally rises. A final youth turnout number, based on the Census’ Current Population Survey, will be available next year.

Youth turnout in 2014 was close to the turnout in 2010 (22.8%) and comparable to turnout rates in recent midterms.

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Top Takeaways about Young People and the 2014 Elections

Before and after last month’s midterms, we have offered data and analysis about the role of youth in the 2014 elections. Here are some of our top takeaways, which we hope will inform further research and efforts to increase youth voting and political engagement more broadly:

  • Midterm exit polls don’t define a generation: For example, while young people with a Bachelor’s degree or higher make up 20% of the overall young citizen population, they made up 40% of voters in 2014.
  • Differences emerge by race and gender: In 2014, Black and Latino youth were considerably more likely to choose Democratic House candidates than White youth. Furthermore, White women largely split their vote between parties, while young White men overwhelmingly supported House Republicans.
  • “Independent” youth present opportunities and challenges: A third of young voters consider themselves independent, suggesting that no party has a lock on youth. However, since party affiliation is related to voter turnout, this poses a challenge for parties as well as future democratic participation.

Read more.

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