Mapping the Youth Vote Impact

CIRCLE has updated their youth turnout numbers.  You'll remember that these estimates are based on exit polls and the overall vote count.  As absentee and early voting ballots get counted, the totals rise, changing the turnout numbers.  CIRCLE now estimates that:

  • 23 million young voters cast a ballot on Tuesday, an increase of 3.4 million over 2004.

  • Youth turnout will likely top off at 52 - 53%.  That would rival the 1992 turnout, and fall just short of the all time record of 55.4% set in 1972.

  • Young voters accounted for 60% of the overall turnout increase.  That for the whole electorate.

  • CIRCLE still estimates that young voters made up 18% of the total electorate.

The big story still remains Obama's staggering 66 - 32% margin among youth, and I want to explore that a little more in pictures.  Here's a look an historical look at the youth vote margin, long-term and short-term:

youth 2000 - 08




We've made huge gains among youth in recent years, but it's amazing seeing the 24 year swing of young voters away from the Republicans after Reagan's all-time high in 1984.

CIRCLE had one final observation about the 2008 youth vote - as in 2004, turnout was higher in states that were highly targeted by the campaigns (and I would add independent organizations):

CIRCLE estimated comparative turnout in states that were heavily campaigned by both candidates (CO, FL, IA, IN, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA and WI), and all other states for youth and all ages combined.  According to CIRCLE's estimation using aggregated counts of votes from each of these states, youth turnout in the heavily campaigned states was especially strong at 59%, compared with 47% for all other states combined.  Using the same method, overall turnout in these heavily campaigned states was also high at 69%, compared with 56% for all other states combined.  Based on these statistics, it can be inferred that young voters responded to various campaigning efforts in these states by casting their ballots at much higher rates than young people in other states.

The numbers will continue to move a little as all the votes come in, but the big question mark that remains about youth impact on the election is down ballot.  Did Obama have coattails, and did his 66 - 32% margin translate into votes for other candidates?  Or was there significant drop off?  That's going to take some time to figure out, but it's an important question - with implications for how campaigns, the party and independent youth orgs conduct their work.  I'll post when we know more.

Update:Caught a mistake. Illinois should also be blue in the 2004 map. I will swap out a corrected map as soon as I can. Fixed.

Tags: Barack Obama, charts, Democrats, Maps, Millennials, youth vote (all tags)



big drop-off in Iowa

That's what I am hearing. A lot of Democrats are very unhappy with how our down-ticket races turned out. We lost D incumbents and didn't pick up as many statehouse seats as we should have, given Obama's 9-point margin in Iowa.

by desmoinesdem 2008-11-08 07:26AM | 0 recs
Thanks Mike

Mike, those are some AWESOME graphics bro, I love the Obama U.S map especially!

by nzubechukwu 2008-11-08 09:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Mapping the Youth Vote Impact

Very interesting info.

Does anyone know what the national turnout % was for all eligible voters this year?

by LakersFan 2008-11-08 10:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Mapping the Youth Vote Impact

I would be interesting to see what the House map would look like if the 18-29 vote was the decider.

by goodleh 2008-11-08 10:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Mapping the Youth Vote Impact

Hey, anyone know where I could find demographic breakdowns of the 2008 election results for texas?  I'm new at this so I'm not very familiar with where to find info.

by goodleh 2008-11-08 06:45PM | 0 recs


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