Politics & the Media

Where were the young voters on Election Day?

Not only did the number of Senate seats for Democrats take a nosedive, so did the young voter turnout for the midterm elections. An overwhelming 51% of voters in the 2008 Presidential election were between the ages of 18-29, the largest youth voting movement in history. However, the amount of young voters that went to the polls staggered to about 20% this midterm election, according to The Center For Information & Research On Civic Learning And Engagement.  As expected in a midterm election, the young voter turnout is significantly lower than the Presidential elections. The 2006 election managed to earn 25% of the 18-29 age group, so what was the problem this go around?

The decline in youth voters can be attributes to a few factors:

–       The obvious determent was the disappointment in the Obama administration. A major issue among voters, the lack of improvements made to our economic system, unemployment rate and deficit, among other issues, gave voters the idea that their voice wasn’t being heard and gave up hope in the political system altogether.

–       Some voters didn’t expect any changes to the political system all together regardless of the outcome. A young voter interviewed during an exit poll from Sinclair Community College classified all politicians as the same; “it’s just the way politicians are. They say they’ll do something and then they don’t.”

–       Many young voters don’t feel that the midterm elections are weighted as heavily as presidential elections. Many misconceptions about the voting system arise among new voters. Voter mobilization was definitely emphasized more in the presidential election of 2008 than the midterm elections.

Many organizations have been involved in stimulating the young generations to get to the polls. Rock The Vote has had a great impact on the youth of America by engaging celebrities and utilizing online resources. The Rock The Vote campaign had significant impact on the 2008 election, bringing out a record number of young voters. The organization combined efforts with VoteAgain2010.com, a website promoting youth turnout in the midterm elections.  Highly active in some states over others, Vote Again 2010 found that those states increased youth voter turnout by 6% since 1998. A major factor encouraging the youth in these states to turn to the polls is because they were asked to, proving the importance of such organizations to encourage voting.

It’s almost guaranteed that voter turnout will see significant increases in the 2012 presidential election but that isn’t to say that politicians can take the chance of stepping back. The youth responds best to face-to-face engagement and education. If America is sick of seeing Obama’s face everywhere now, they better prepare for 2012 because he’ll be out in full force gaining back his strongest supporters.


November 8, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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