CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)
conducts research on the civic and political engagement of young Americans.
The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

By Same Point in 2008, Obama’s # of Youth Votes More-than-Double 2012 Republican Candidates’

March 12th, 2012
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Paul, Romney Still Have More Youth Votes than the ’08 Nominee, Sen. John McCain

CIRCLE has been calculating youth voting statistics after each primary in which an exit poll is conducted. Last week, we released the cumulative number of young people’s votes for the 2012 Republican candidates. After Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are basically tied in the number of youth votes they have received (counting only the states in which exit polls were conducted). The race for youth votes is represented below. Barack Obama’s 2008 showing is included for comparison purposes. (Click on the state to go to more specific information for that state).

The last point in this graph only shows states that voted on Super Tuesday in both 2008 and 2012. However, including all the votes from both years would generate a similar pattern: at this time in 2008 then-candidate Obama had far more support from youth in primaries than any 2012 Republican candidate.

The candidates receiving the most youth votes in the 2012 primaries (Romney and Paul) have received more support from youth than Senator John McCain, the eventual Republican nominee, did in 2008. This may be an indicator that the 2012 candidates are doing a better job speaking to or doing outreach to Republican, conservative and/or libertarian youth, or that those youth are generally more mobilized this election cycle.

Compared to how they each performed in the 2008 primaries and caucuses, Romney and Paul have gained youth support. Paul has dramatically increased his youth support between the 2008 and 2012 primaries, compared to Romney’s more modest increase. The growth in Paul’s youth support raises the question of what Paul’s young voters will do in the general election.

Although Paul and Romney are doing better among youth than Senator McCain did in 2008, there remains a large gap between the youth support Republicans received in 2008 and 2012 and the youth support Democratic primary candidates received in 2008.

2 Responses to “By Same Point in 2008, Obama’s # of Youth Votes More-than-Double 2012 Republican Candidates’”

  1. Will Barack Obama Still Win the Youth Vote? | The Real Unemployment Statistics Says:

    […] But a new poll suggests that Republicans might be making some gains with young people, according to Tufts University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning (CIRCLE). […]

  2. Charlie Cook’s Game of Three Card Monte | | Mike & MorleyMike & Morley Says:

    […] Continuing his efforts at political sleight of hand, Cook conveniently fails to mention that such voters are least likely to vote or to be aware of current political candidates and issues. Instead, he tries to entice his readers to lose track of the target card (usually the Queen of Hearts), by suggesting they  pay attention to this quote from Gillespie, “If these groups are representative of this demographic at large, it will be a tall task to counter their disillusionment.” The word “if” is Cook’s final attempt at misleading his mark. The participants in the focus groups were deliberately selected on a characteristic that makes them very unrepresentative of Millennials overall, among whom no more than 5 percent were completely undecided in the presidential race according to the most recent Pew survey. Cook also introduces some side chatter around the game by talking about his own anecdotal impressions of the lack of enthusiasm and interest in politics on the campuses he has visited.  Never once does he mention that this phenomenon may be more due to the nature of the GOP primary than any lack of support for President Obama. According to CIRCLE’s analysis of young voters, through Super Tuesday, the vote totals for Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul combined was  less than half the Millennial votes  Barack Obama had received at this point in the primary campaign of  2008. […]