CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)
conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans.
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You Ask, We Answer: 16.8 Million New Youth Eligible to Vote in 2012

As the 2012 general election campaigns begin, it’s important to remember that the pool of young people eligible to vote will look different in 2012 than it did in 2008. A new group of potential voters who were not eligible to vote in 2008 (because of age) will be eligible to vote in 2012. These young people, who were between the ages of 14-17 in 2008 – who have since turned 18 (or 17 in some cases) – will now be eligible to vote in the 2012 elections.  Youth who are 17 or above are eligible to vote in 22 states in primaries.

  • There are approximately 46 million youth eligible to vote in 2012.*
  • The number of young people who are newly eligible to vote since 2008 is about 16.8 million**

Both parties have a chance to mobilize this new group of voters. In an attempt to do so, they can first think about youth voter registration opportunities; we know from research that young people are more likely to vote if they are registered (84% of those registered to vote actually did vote in 2008; 87% for college students). For those young people who will be newly off to college in the fall, they may have to register at a new location and/or find information about the absentee ballot process.

–Surbhi Godsay

*Calculation is based on CIRCLE analysis of Current Population Survey (CPS) 2011 March Basic Supplement
** Calculation is based on CIRCLE analysis of 2010 Census Brief, http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/briefs/c2010br-03.pdf

28 Responses to “You Ask, We Answer: 16.8 Million New Youth Eligible to Vote in 2012”

  1. Peter D. Says:

    The statistic “46 million youth eligible to vote in 2012″ — What’s the age range of “youth” in that context?

  2. CIRCLE Says:

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for your question. The age range for that figure is 18-29. Let us know if you have any other questions.

  3. Raven D. Says:

    Does having a voting poll on campus have an impact on youth voting?? Is there any statistics on student voting from CIRCLE?

  4. Carl Burton Says:

    How many young people will turn 18 in Sacramento County and be eligible to vote in 2012?

  5. CIRCLE Says:

    Raven –
    We don’t have any data on whether voting poll on campus has an impact on youth voting. We have national turnout numbers for college students, if you are interested in that. Please email us if you are interested.

    Carl –
    Thanks for your question. The CPS calculates data for the Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville, CA metro area. If you are interested in the data for this, we’d be happy to look into it for you. Please email us at civicyouth@tufts.edu. Thanks!

  6. Raven D. Says:

    Great, thank you.

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  8. Isaac Says:

    Did the college students who aged out of the 18-29 year age group and moved into the next age group for this election remain strongly democrat?

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