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November 3, 2004

youth turnout was huge

Starting with an AP story late last night and blog posts by Daily Kos and Josh Marshall [but see below for his change of mind], the story has been going around that youth didn't turn out. Some are saying that Kerry lost because the youth vote failed to materialize. This is flatly false--and offensive. From CIRCLE's release:

Youth Turnout Up Sharply in 2004

Many more young people cast votes yesterday than in 2000, and a far higher proportion of young people voted. Youth turnout was especially strong in contested, “battleground” states.

According to final national exit polls and an early tally of votes cast, at least 20.9 million Americans under the age of 30 voted in 2004, an increase of 4.6 million compared to 2000. (The 20.9 million figure will increase as more ballots are tallied.) The percentage of eligible young people who voted also increased, from about 42.3% to approximately 51.6% yesterday. This percentage is the turnout rate, and it is up sharply—by 9.3 percentage points—since 2000.

“This is phenomenal. It represents the highest youth turnout in more than a decade, 4 percentage points higher than the previous peak year of 1992,” said CIRCLE Director William A. Galston.

Because young people participated in considerably larger numbers than they had in the past, they kept pace with the higher turnout of Americans of all ages. Voters under the age of 30 constituted the same proportion of all voters as they did in 2000 (about 18%) even as overall voting increased.

Young people voted at a much higher rate in contested, “battleground” states. In the ten most contested states, youth turnout was 64%, up 13 percentage points from 2000. In the battleground states, the youth share of the electorate was 19%. In the remaining 40 states and the District of Columbia, youth turnout was 47% and the youth share of the electorate was 18%. One explanation for the higher rates of participation in the battleground states is that there was greater voter outreach and political advertising in these states. Current research shows that youth participate when they are asked to do so.

Young people chose the Democratic ticket of Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards over Republicans George W. Bush and Dick Cheney by a 54%-44% margin, according to national exit polls. They were the only age group to prefer the Democrats.

Update: Josh Marshall has graciously corrected his criticism of youth (possibly because I emailed him late last night, although others probably contacted him too.)

Posted by peterlevine at 10:26 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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