Young Voter Myth Still a Myth
Since the 1972 election, after the adoption of the 26th Amendment lowering the voting age to 18, we regularly hear that this will be the year that “young voters” will make the difference. And just as regularly, young voters fail to show up at the polls in the numbers predicted.
Will 2008 be any different? Civitas discussed that possibility in an earlier analysis The Myth of the Young Voter. With “One Stop” and absentee voting in full swing Civitas was able to do an analysis of early voting as of Thursday, October 30. The facts say that this year is not any different than in elections past. Young voters continue to underperform in turnout relative to their percentage of registration.
Breakdown by age of early voters through Thursday, October 30:
|AGES||Pct of Turnout||Pct of Registration|
While young voters make up 11 percent of registration they represent only 9 percent of turnout to date – the exact same percentages they were in 2004. Despite the intense media focus on young voters this year and the efforts of many campaigns to motivate young voters, they are not turning out in any higher percentages than before.
In addition, young voters (18-25) are underrepresented in the turnout of all three major parties.
Breakdown by party:
|Ages 18-25||Pct of Turnout||Pct of Registration|
“Any candidate basing their election outcome heavily on young voters may have a surprise in North Carolina on November 4th," said Francis De Luca, Civitas Executive Director.
For historical perspective, in the 2004 General Election, young voters made up 9 percent of turnout.