November 6, 2012

The Youth Vote

Scott Evans looks at the impact young voters might have on today’s election.

Scott: Stephen Stanis is voting for the first time but says he is just not sure for whom.

Stephen: It’s a matter of just kind of figuring out where I stand on the political landscape.

Scott: He is one of the 46 million registered voters between 18 and 29 years old who make up the youth vote.

Over forty years ago, back in 1971, the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution lowered the voting age from 21 to 18. More than 50% of all 18 to 21-year-olds voted in that year’s election between incumbent President Richard Nixon and Senator George McGovern.

In the years that followed though, young people seemed less interested in politics. The youth vote hit its lowest point during the 1990s but was back in the game during the 2004 presidential election when 11% more young people voted than in 2000. And as the number of young voters grew, politicians started paying attention. And probably no president targeted America’s youth more than Barack Obama during the 2008 election.

All that effort paid off. Of the 18 to 29-year-olds who voted, about two out of every three cast their ballots for Obama instead of Senator John McCain.

Going into the vote today, President Obama still has the edge in the nationwide youth vote but one recent poll found young voter support for the President has dropped to 52%, compared to 35%  for Romney. And a Harvard Institute of Politics study found more young Romney supporters saying they will definitely be voting today. So, it is very possible young voters will have a big impact on just who wins today’s election.

Scott Evans, Channel One News.


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