Insight News

Feb 07th

2012 Youth Voter Fact Sheet: Turnout was 66% for youth who have any college experience, 35% for others

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• Young people without college experience underrepresented
• Non-college youth voters more ethnically diverse than those with college
• 27% swayed by Obama's response to Sandy, vs. 10% of youth with college

Following last week's snapshot analysis of the role young voters played in last Tuesday's presidential election, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) – the preeminent youth research organization at Tufts University – announced this week that they will be releasing a series of post-election fact sheets on the 23 million young voters who turned out to vote last week. In addition to providing key comparative analysis to 2008's historic youth turnout, the fact sheets are based mostly upon the national exit poll conducted by Edison Research and contain a wealth of data CIRCLE has analyzed on demographic, key issue and vote choice questions.

CIRCLE released the third and final fact sheet in this series. The fact sheet, titled Young Voters in the 2012 Presidential Election: The Educational Gap Remains, analyzes the 23 million youth voters by educational experience, along with the breakdowns for candidate support, issues of importance, party support, etc. The fact sheet dispels the commonly held belief that young voters are synonymous with "college voters". In addition to detailed narrative analysis and many charts and tables, the major findings highlighted in the fact sheet include:

• Although 60% of the U.S. citizens between ages of 18-29 have gone to college, 71% of the young voters had attended college, meaning that college-educated young people were overrepresented among young people who voted.

• The turnout rate was 63% for young people who have attended any college (even one course in community college) versus 36% for those who have not attended college.

• Young people with no college experience represented only 29% of young voters, compared to making up 40% in the general young citizen population (both voters and non-voters).

• Non-college youth voters were more ethnically diverse than their college educated peers. The racial and ethnic makeup of non-college voters was: 49% White, 22% Black, 24% Latino, and 4% Asian. The racial and ethnic makeup of young voters with college experience was: 61% White, 14% Black, 17% Latino and 6% Asian.

• Youth voters without college experience were much more likely to describe themselves as evangelical Christians (37%) compared to youth with college experience (29%).

• Among youth without college experience, 27% said that Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy was the most important factor in their vote for president, compared to 10% of youth with college experience. This suggests that Obama's response was critical in swaying nearly a third of the non-college youth vote. Current events may have played an important role for this group of youth without college experience, who decided on their vote within a month of the Election.
Additional demographic differences among young voters by educational attainment include:

• Non-college youth were more likely to have children under 18 in their households than youth with college experience

• Non-college youth were more interested in unemployment as an issue than youth with college experience

• A higher percentage of non-college identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual than youth with college experience

• A higher percentage of non-college have lower incomes than college youth

• Youth with college experience are more likely to be married with children than youth without college experience

• There is a greater percentage of men, and men who are non-working, in the non-college youth group

• There is a greater percentage of mothers with no full-time jobs in the non-college youth group, whereas there is a greater of working women among young voters with college experience.
To view the full "Young Voters in the 2012 Presidential Election: The Educational Gap Remains" fact sheet, go here:

CIRCLE has released Diverse Electorate: A Deeper Look into the Millennial Vote, a fact sheet analyzing the youth vote by gender and race. To view Diverse Electorate fact sheet, the second in this series of three youth voter fact sheets providing in-depth exit poll-driven analysis from this year's presidential election, go to:

Also, CIRCLE released an introductory Overview of Young Voters in the 2012 Election Fact Sheet that provides a comprehensive understanding of the 50% of eligible young voters who showed up on Election Day – just slightly down from the recent high of 52% in 2008. To view Overview fact sheet, go to:


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