Our updated data estimate is that 23 million youth voted in the 2012 election. We also updated our estimates 2 days after the 2008 election, and this year’s update shows that the virtually the same number of youth voted in 2008 and 2012.
Youth Turnout in Competitive States
Research on youth electoral participation has often shown that young people are more likely to turn out to vote when asked by someone in their close network, or when contacted by campaigns and civic organizations. Using pre-election predictions for the competitiveness of states, we’ve estimated youth voter turnout for “toss-up” states (i.e. those where pre-election polling showed a virtual tie), states where pre-election polling showed one candidate with a small lead, and “non-battleground” states.
The results show, again, that youth respond to increased activity. Our estimates of youth voter turnout in pre-election toss-up states is 58%. In states that leaned one direction pre-election, youth turnout was 55%, and in non-battleground states youth turnout was 47%. On Wednesday we also showed that youth were critical to President Obama’s win in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Florida. This level of youth turnout is directly related to that result for the President. The results are likely the result of investment in youth outreach by campaigns and youth-focused organizations in these states.