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November 3, 2008

an unprecedented age gap

In elections since 1976,* young people (ages 18-29) have voted slightly more Democratic than the population as a whole. The average difference between the preference of under-30s and the national popular vote has been a mere 1.8 points. In 1984 and 2000,** the Democratic presidential candidate performed just slightly worse among young people than in the whole population.

But a recent Gallup poll of the 2008 campaign found Obama leading McCain by 62% to 34% among youth. In the same survey, Obama did not surpass 50% in any of the older age groups. If these numbers hold up, there will be an unprecedented age gap in voter preferences. No wonder there is such enormous interest in the youth vote story. For us at CIRCLE, it's always about democratic participation and youth voice. But this year, it's also about who wins the White House.

*I believe the 1972 exit poll did not disclose age. Before 1972, the voting age was 21.
**In 2000, Gore beat Bush among young voters, 48%-46%, but Nader drew 5% of young people.

November 3, 2008 8:01 PM | category: none


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