Does the Age of a Presidential Candidate Matter to Young Voters?
As more contenders enter the next presidential race, CIRCLE continues looking ahead to 2016 and exploring the role that youth will play in that election. With candidates ranging in age from 43 (Marco Rubio) to 73 (Bernie Sanders) already among the declared aspirants, we explored an oft-asked question: do young people prefer to vote for younger candidates?
The answer is, largely, no. In 2008, less than 20% of young voters (ages 18-29) said that age was an important factor, and very few reported that it was “the single most important factor” in deciding their vote: only 6% of young Democrats and 4% of Republicans. While youth have voted for the younger of the presidential candidates in a majority of recent elections, those younger candidates have also generally been Democrats, which means the age of candidates is tied to other factors.
America’s Civic Renewal Movement: Implications for Youth Engagement
Last month, Tisch College—the home of CIRCLE—released “America’s Civic Renewal Movement: The View from Organizational Leaders,” a report by former CIRCLE Director Peter Levine and Eric Liu, founder and CEO of Citizen University. The report is the product of interviews with 20 leaders from large, national civic engagement organizations who discussed the state of the field and broader strategies for civic renewal.
While the interviews did not focus on youth, its findings are highly relevant to youth engagement. Young people are developing their civic identities when there is not yet a robust network for civic renewal, and several interviewees lamented the lack of youth in formal settings, such as facilitating conversations.