Unlike in 2004 and 2008, when young voters flocked to the polls to vote for their favorite candidates, only 58 percent of young ages 18 to 29 say they are “definitely likely” to vote this fall — a 10-point reduction from June 2008.
According to Gallup, young voters have said they were “definitely likely” to vote at lower rates than the national average. For example, in June 2008, 69 percent of young voters said they were “definitely likely” to vote — 13 points less than the national average of national voters who said they would definitely vote that year.
Young voters, though, tend to grow more likely to vote as the election nears. In 2004, only 61 percent of young voters said they were “definitely likely” to vote in June, but that number increased to 81 percent in October and November. The same phenomena occurred in 2008, when 69 percent of young voters said they were “definitely likely” to vote in June, but then the number increased to 78 percent in October and November.
Voter enthusiasm in general seems to be low this year, as the percentage of all voters who say they will “definitely vote” this November was only 78 percent — seven points below 2008 levels.
Turnout will be an important factor this election, as President Barack Obama’s 2008 election saw huge support from demographic groups that usually have lower turnouts.
For example, only 64 percent of Hispanics said they were “definitely likely” to vote this election, down 14 points from the national average. Only 76 percent of African Americans say they’re definitely voting this election — 2 points below the national average. Desire to vote is lower for both groups this election by 11 points for Hispanics and 13 points for African Americans.
“The challenge for Obama is that many of Obama’s strongest support groups, including young adults, blacks and Hispanics, have historically turned out to vote at lower rates than other subgroups, Gallup notes. “So maintaining a relatively high level of turnout among these groups is a key to Obama’s winning a second term.”
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