Students, Young Voters Ignored by Midterm Candidates

Political candidates and campaigns turned off younger voters, a demographic that turned out in droves only two years ago.

According to analysis from exit polls conducted yesterday, CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University) estimates that a little more than 20 percent of young people (18 to 29) voted in yesterday's midterm election. That's slightly down from the 2006, when 23 percent of the demographic voted.

During a conference call with reporters this morning, representatives from Rock the Vote and The League of Young Voters noted that voter participation campaigns their organizations (and others like them) ran were successful at getting young people to polls. In particular, Rock the Vote efforts in Florida, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania (which focused on campuses, such as the University of Florida, University of North Carolina, Drexel, and the University of Pennsylvania), increased turnout by between 25 perent and 100 percent said its president, Heather Smith. The young people that did turn out, according to CIRCLE's analysis, tended to favor Democrats—a pattern that arose in 2002—with 56 percent pulling the lever for Obama's party (compared with 40 percent voting Republican).

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