Monday, October 27, 2008

The Youth and Next Week's Turnout

It is said of nearly every election, but the question is always asked: will this be the year that young voters turn out in great numbers?

It’s been said that 2008 will see a significant rise over previous years in the youth turnout, even stacked up against the growth made in 2004. Student political participation this year could be highlighted in examples such as the (ultimately failed) student initiative to put the issue of public college tuition prices on the ballot in California. is tracking the growth of youth participation in various states for the Democratic primary as an indicator that they will continue to increase their presence in the 2008 election. The Democratic primaries indicated a 52.4% growth in the share of voters age 18-29. In addition, according to CBS News reports, more than 50 percent of young voters picked Obama on Super Tuesday, seemingly so long ago.

A Gallup poll commissioned by USA Today and MTV (of 903 respondents "weighted by demographic information) finds that "75% of young people are registered to vote" and that they favor Obama over McCain 2:1.

At the other end of the spectrum, according to a Pew Research poll, McCain broadened his lead among the "over 65" demographic, from 45%-40% to 48%-35% over Obama since September--at the same time losing ground on the slightly less old 50-64 demographic until his standing was tied with that of the 18-29 group with 39%.

Of course, this all compounds the ubiquitous quote, often misattributed to Churchill: "If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain."

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