“This race would have been extremely close had the youth vote not been so active. Nationally there was an a large increase in the youth vote turnout, but it was their massive turnout in college towns in the battleground states that kept this election out of reach for McCain,” Greenberg said.
Exit polls show that the youth vote supported Obama/Biden over McCain/Palin 66% to 32%, which is the highest share of the youth vote obtained by any candidate since exit polls began reporting results by age categories in 1976. Specifically, college towns in the battleground states of Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Florida saw increases of up to 92% in youth voter turnout in comparison to 2004. More broadly, 18-29 year-olds represented 18% of the electorate while those identified as 65 and older made up only 16%.
According to CIRCLE, an estimated 21.6 million-23.9 million young Americans voted in Tuesday’s presidential election, an increase of at least 2.2 million compared with 2004, according to national exit polls, demographic data, and projections of total numbers of votes cast.
Preliminary exit polls show historical increases in the youth vote:
Indiana University Bloomington, Precinct 01 – at least a 287% increase over 2004.
University of South Florida, Precinct 353 – 66% increase over 2004.
The Ohio State University, Precinct 39B – at least a 92% increase over 2004.
Colorado University Boulder, Precinct 102 – at least a 45% increase over 2004
“This is more than a voting bloc. It’s a movement,” Greenberg said. “We are witnessing a changing of the guard, a new political epoch, a youth movement, and their call to restore the American dream. One only has to look at how the youth voted overwhelmingly for Obama this election to understand that a generational shift is occurring. This is the start of something much larger.”
Eric will be organizing a lunch panel of top youth leaders and thinkers on Monday, November 17th at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. to look more closely at how the youth vote effected this election and the importance of the Millennial Generation during the next Administration and future elections.