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

May 2019 E-Update

May 31st, 2019
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New National Youth Turnout Estimate: 28% of Youth Voted in 2018

We recently published a new estimate of young people’s participation in last year’s midterm elections: 28.2% of youth turned out to vote in 2018. This estimate, calculated using the voter file and using data from all 42 states where youth voting data is available, represents a remarkable increase from the 2014 midterms, when we estimate (using the same methodology) that only 13% of young people cast a ballot. We’ll be digging into what these estimates mean, and the differences in data source and methodologies behind various estimates, in an upcoming post.

This new estimate further illustrates what all of our statewide and national data have shown all along: young people more than doubled their participation at the polls compared to the previous midterm, and they directly influenced election results.

Read more about our new estimate, and our reflections (with links to previous research!) on some of the reasons for the 2018 increase in youth voting.

Explore State by State Youth Turnout

Our final analysis of statewide youth voter turnout added eight states—Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Kentucky, New Jersey, South Carolina, and West Virginia—bringing the total to 42 states for which data are available. In every single state, youth turnout increased in the 2018 midterms compared to the 2014 midterms.

Especially noteworthy among this “new” group of states is California, the nation’s most populous state, where youth turnout tripled, from 10% to 30%, and where young voters may have been key in several close House races. New Jersey also saw a dramatic 22-point jump: from 11% in 2014, to 33% in 2018. And in Arizona, where Democratic candidate Kyrsten Sinema won her Senate race by less than 3 points, young people’s increased participation (from 10% to 26%) may have played a crucial role.

Read more

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Online Course: Educating for Informed and Equitable Voting

CIRCLE is excited to partner with UC Riverside’s Civic Engagement Research Group (CERG) on a new online course for educators who want to better prepare youth for voting and participation in democracy.

Participants in the course will learn about trends in youth voting, including inequities in turnout and misconceptions about youth engagement; explore key approaches to voter mobilization; and learn about educational models and resources to teach about elections in an effective, non-partisan manner.

The course begins on June 17. Register now here!


CIRCLE in the News

– Washington Post – Trump is struggling to connect with young voters. Here’s why.

– Associated Press – College Democrats vow to boycott DCCC over incumbent policy

– St. Louis Post-Dispatch –Under 18? You are not powerless in our democracy.

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