Despite expectations that young voters wouldn’t turn out for this year’s election, they participated at nearly as high a rate as in 2008 and still supported President Obama decisively, but somewhat less so. Sixty percent of young people voted for him, compared with 66 percent four years ago.
About half of eligible voters age 18 to 29 cast ballots, according to initial tallies by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University. More precise number crunching may bump up the youth-turnout rate, now 49 percent, to 51 percent, said the center, which is known as Circle. Four years ago, it adjusted an early estimate of 48 percent to 52 percent of young voters.
Turnout in that bracket, then, seems to have remained relatively steady despite overall national declines of up to four percentage points, to a rate of about 58 percent, since the last presidential election. This year young people represented 19 percent of all voters, an increase of one percentage point over 2008.
Among advocates and observers of young voters, turnout is evidence of engagement, as well as electoral influence.