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Youth Voting Stats

YDA provides research and statistics to our chapters to help make the case for investing in youth voting programs. Below are some highlights of the best research on youth voting currently available.

We Are a Large, Growing, and Diverse Voting Bloc

Commonly called the Millennial Generation or Generation Y, young voters rival the Baby Boomers in size and are the most diverse generation in history.

Approximately 46 million 18-29 year olds are eligible to vote in 2012.

By 2015, this generation will make up one-third of the electorate.

Voters ages 18-29 comprised 21% of eligible voters in 2012.

39% of Millennials identify as non-white, making them the most diverse generation in American history. Young Latinos account for the largest percentage of the population boom.

• In 2012, 35% of youth who didn’t attend college voted vs. 66% of youth who did.

• 4% more young women voted than young men in 2012.

We Are Engaged

The increase in young voter turnout is not a myth or “fuzzy math.” Young voters’ overwhelming preference for the Democratic Party is an ongoing trend, not a fluke.

Young voter turnout tripled or even quadrupled in many primary states. Over 6.5 million young voters participated in the primary contests or caucuses in 2008, an increase of 103% over 2004.

• Fifty percent of eligible young voters cast a vote in the 2012 election, accounting for 23 million votes. 

The 2004 elections marked the largest increase in young voter turnout since 1972. Over 20 million young people ages 18-29 cast a ballot (42 million were eligible to vote), an increase of 4.3 million voters. This was a nine point increase in turnout over 2000, more than double that of any other age group. In 2004, there were nearly as many voters under 30 years old than voters over 65 years old.

In toss-up states that were virtual ties heading into election day, 58% percent of eligible Millenials cast a ballot in 2012. Like older voters, young people will turn out in higher numbers when targeted.

Millennials volunteer in record numbers. They possess strong values and political opinions and connect volunteerism to social activism. And they will vote if asked.

We Are Democrats

Young voters are trending Democratic. Young people are identifying as Democrats, supporting the party’s issues, and casting ballots for Democratic candidates at the polls.

In 2012, Millenial voters favored Democrats for the House of Representatives by a 21 point margin.

Barack Obama won among young voters by 24 points in a head-to-head matchup with Mitt Romney, 60-36%.

In the 2008 election, John McCain had a net negative approval rating among young voters; 49% view him negatively with only 30% viewing him favorably. Additionally, 50% have a negative view of the Republican Party, and a whopping 69% view President Bush negatively.

Democrats have an 18 point advantage in party identification. 44% of Millenials identify as Democrats.

In 2010, young voters ages 18-29 supported Democratic House Candidates by an impressive 57%, nine points higher than the voting-age population as a whole.

Young African-Americans, young Hispanics, and young women are particularly inclined to support Democrats, both on the generic ballot and when asked about specific candidates. Young independents, young white men, and even young evangelicals all favor Democrats.

Young voters support Democrats on the issues. Young people are rejecting the failed policies of the Bush Administration and support Democrats on every key issue. The economy and the war in Iraq top the list of concerns among young voters.

Are you looking for a little more background on the youth voting movement?  Check out these great resources.

Gift to Democrats: How Democrats Can Win Elections by Making Young People a Top Priority Skyline Public Works, a project of the Rappaport family, published this book to highlight best practices in partisan youth voting programs.  While now one election cycle old, this book serves as a great primer for those looking to learn more about the youth vote movement.  An article by YDA’s President Chris Gallaway and former Executive Director Jane Fleming chronicle our 2005 Alliance campaign . The book also includes an article by our major donor Jonathan Lewis. Download the book at

CIRCLE Fact Sheets The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) regularly produces fact sheets on their youth voting research and other topics relevant to youth civic engagement.  Check out their latest fact sheets at

Future Majority: Beat Reporting on Millenial Politics A group blog run by Michael Connery, with Sarah Burris, Kevin Bondelli, Craig Berger, and Karlo Marcelo, Future Majority is chronicling the ins and outs of today’s progressive youth movement.  Head over to this blog for great analysis, a review of recent research, and to see what other organizations in the progressive youth movement are up to.  Don’t miss his 95 Theses on Youth Activism.

Harvard Institute of Politics Youth Polling The Harvard IOP conducts regular surveys of young people.  To check out their most recent studies visit their webpage.

… have any great studies that you think should be highlighted here?  Send us an email to [email protected].