In Three Months, Intention to Vote Rises 9.9 points
Medford/Somerville, Mass.: More than two-third of voters under 30 say they are very likely to vote, and more than half of those say they’ll back President Barack Obama. Former Gov. Mitt Romney has 35 percent support in that age group, and nine percent are uncommitted, according to a recent survey of young voters.
The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE), Tufts University’s preeminent youth research organization, today released groundbreaking poll results on young people’s views of Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney and key policy issues. The poll, commissioned by the Youth Education Fund, is unique in that it polled 1,695 youth (ages 18-29) in June/July and 1,109 of the same youth between October 12 and 23. Surveying the same people twice provides powerful evidence of change over time.
With just 8 days until the election, the youth poll shows the following:
● The proportion saying they are extremely likely to vote has risen 9.9 points, from 44.7% to 54.6%. Two-thirds (67.3%) of young adults are “very” or “extremely” likely to vote, up 7.1 percentage points since June/July.
● The proportion who are paying attention to the election has also risen, from 56.1% to 71%.
● If the election were held today, Obama would win the youth vote by 52% to 35% among those registered voters who are “extremely likely to vote.”
“The conventional wisdom holds that youth enthusiasm is down compared to 2008,” said CIRCLE Director Peter Levine. “But intent to vote is rising fast. President Obama has a majority of likely young voters behind him, but a significant proportion are open to voting for Governor Romney, who has a clear opportunity to improve over John McCain’s record-low support in 2008.”
If the election were held today, Obama would win the youth vote by 52% to 35%. Support for Obama rose more than 7 points among likely voters: up from 44.4% in July. Support for Romney is down slightly from 36.9% to 35.1% among likely, registered voters (within the margin of error). The proportion open to voting for either candidate is 8.8%. Based on an average of national polls, about 5 percent of likely voters of all ages are considered undecided now. The slightly higher youth undecided rate is mainly due to the influence of first-time voters (those 18 to 21).
Obama continues to lead Romney on all aspects of leadership, from sincerity and experience to the likelihood that he will help the economy.
In both surveys, we asked young people to pick their top issue. The percentage of youth who chose “Jobs and the economy” rose and it remained the number-one issue, at 37.9%.
Young adults have now seen more information about politics posted on social network sites than they did in the summer. Although a slightly higher percentage of young people reported being contacted by at least one of the campaigns (12.6% in the summer and 15.1% in Mid-October), over four fifths of young people (84.9%) had not been contacted or were unsure if they were contacted. “Young people vote when they are asked to vote,” said Heather Smith, president of Rock the Vote, a nonpartisan organization that mobilizes young people. “But the parties and national candidates still fail to reach most young adults.”
Alexandra Acker-Lyons, director of the Youth Engagement Fund, noted, “Young voters have been targeted in the last few weeks. But with young voters comprising one quarter of the electorate, the campaigns — having spent one billion dollars each — and the media remain focused on seniors and other sectors of the electorate. Politicians underestimate the youth vote at their own peril. Young voters have the power to decide this election.”
72.6% believe that, as a group, young people have the power to change things in this country. They say that appeals from parents (46.9%) and friends (41.6%, asking in person) have the most influence on making them more likely to vote.
For more data and analysis on this youth poll, please visit: http://www.civicyouth.org/?p=4579
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