(This post has been updated with data based on 100% reporting in the New Hampshire primary. Previous post title: New Hampshire Youth Turnout 15%; 29,000 New Hampshire Citizens Under Age 30 Participated in Primary; Strong Showing for Paul)
Fifteen percent of eligible voters under the age of 30 in New Hampshire participated in last night’s primary, according to preliminary analysis by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE). Numbers may change slightly as the last 5% of precincts report their votes.
Young voters supported Ron Paul by a margin of 20 22 percentage points (see Table 2) and more than doubled his youth votes since the 2008 New Hampshire primary (See Table 3). Compared to 2008, Mitt Romney drew about as many young voters again in 2012.
“Although young voters did not turn out at a particularly high rate this year, they did have an impact by concentrating their votes for Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), helping him come in second behind former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA),” said CIRCLE Director Peter Levine. “Dr. Paul’s 46% 47% support from 18- to 29-year-olds was the strongest level of support for any candidate by any age group.”
Youth turnout declined from the 2004 New Hampshire primary (See Table 1), and while no two primary years are the same, 2012 is best compared to 2004 because only one party had a competitive race during both years. In election years in which both Republicans and Democrats held competitive races in New Hampshire, 2000 and 2008, youth turned out to vote at a rate of 28% and 43%, respectively. However, the total number of young voters in yesterday’s Republican primary, approximately 30,000 29,000, is comparable to is just 4,000 more than the number of young people who voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 New Hampshire primary: 26,000.
Because of a lack of available data, the CIRCLE turnout estimates do not include young people who participated in yesterday’s uncontested Democratic primary.
* Combines the Democratic and Republican figures. For separate results by party, see Table 3
**2004 statistics only include the Democratic Primary. There was no Republican Primary in 2004, because President George W. Bush was an incumbent and the GOP nomination.
***2012 and 1996 statistics only include the Republican Primary. In these years, there was/is no competitive democratic primaries because there was an incumbent president from the Democratic Party that took the nomination.
Source: The share of Primary participants is obtained from the 2012, 2008, and 2004 NH exit poll conducted by Edison Research, and the 2000 and 1996 NH exit poll conducted by Voter News Services. The numbers of votes cast are obtained from the Associated Press (as of 12:30pm 7:30 am, Eastern time, 1/11/2012.) The numbers of votes cast in the past election years were obtained from various sources including the Washington Post archives (1996), Federal Election Commission (2000 and 2004), and CNN.com (2008). Estimated voter turnout is obtained by taking the estimated number of votes cast by young people and dividing it by the estimated population of the 18-to-29-year-old citizens from the Current Population Survey (1995-2011). See p. 2 for definitions.
Source: National Election Pool New Hampshire Exit Poll 2012
In 2008, 31% of young voters in New Hampshire supported John McCain, who won the primary. Ron Paul had support from 18% of the young voters, and Romney had 23%. Table 3 shows the comparison in terms of the number of young voters who supported the leading candidates.
Comparisons to past years must be made with caution, because turnout is affected by the date of the caucuses and by the nature of the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns, which are different in every cycle. For example, in 2008 both the Republicans and Democrats held primaries, but in 2012 only the Republicans held a competitive primary. Table 4 provides estimates of youth participation in New Hampshire primary by party and year.
To obtain more extensive information about New Hampshire‘s young voters and historical voting trends, click here.
Youth: For the purpose of this press release and estimation of youth participation in the New Hampshire primary, we define “youth” as citizens who were eligible to vote on January 10, 2012, as permitted by state election law.
Number of youth who participated: An estimate of how many youth participated in primaries.
Youth share: An estimate of the number of young people who participated in the primary as a percentage of the number of all people who participated.
Youth turnout rate: An estimate of the number of young people who participated in caucuses or cast ballots as a percentage of the total number of young people who were eligible to participate on January 10, 2012.
The youth turnout rate is the best indicator of how young Americans are engaging in the political process. The other statistics—the sheer number of youth participants and the youth share of the electorate—can change because of factors unrelated to youth engagement.