Youth voting rates remain similar to 2008 levels


Young voters showed up in the same amount of force in 2012 as they did in 2008, according to a National Exit Poll conducted by Edison Research.

Despite reports that showed a decline in youth enthusiasm in this years’ election, it appears young voters’ participation was not significantly impacted. The poll reports voters ages 18-29 made up 19 percent of all those who voted on Election Day compared to 18 percent in 2008. The margin of error for the exit poll was plus or minus four points. 

Just as in 2008, the youth vote proved quite favorable to Barack Obama. The poll shows 60 percent voting for Obama compared to 36 percent for Mitt Romney.

Heather Smith, president of Rock the Vote, an organization that seeks to engage young people in the political process, said the youth turnout of 2008 was not an anomaly but represents an overall heightened political engagement of young voters.

“They turned out, not because of a historic campaign or a naive view on how change happens,” Smith said. “But because they care and understand the power and the obligation they have, to opt-in and lead our country.” 

On Tuesday, the line to vote wrapped around the Flawn Academic Center and the University Co-op as students waited for up to two hours to cast their ballot.

Voter turnout in Travis County, among all age groups, dropped from 66.1 percent in 2008 to 61.3 percent in 2012.