#YouthTruth: Not all youth vote Democratic, and historically the youth vote has often been competitive
In 2008, almost 66 percent of young voters chose Barack Obama over John McCain. That result has led some observers to assume that young people are consistently a Democratic constituency. But even in 2008, not all youth voted for President Obama. That year, 32% of young voters chose Senator McCain (for those interested in who voted for each candidate, please see our 2008 analysis).
Also, 2008 was a highly unusual year. Typically, the youth vote is more evenly split. Republican presidential candidates have generally captured a much larger share than McCain did in 2008—sometimes a majority. The following graph displays the trend since the voting age was lowered in 1972.
The graph does also illustrate that young people have voted increasingly Democratic in recent Presidential elections. Many theories have surfaced about why this happened, one of which we summarize here.
The partisan diversity of youth is one example of how young people are diverse and relate to politics in diverse ways, a theme of CIRCLE’s #YouthTruth campaign.