A New York Times/CBS/MTV poll released in late June indicates that 17-29 year olds are more likely to vote Democratic than other age demographics. This age group tends to be more liberal on hot button issues such as gay marriage and immigration; they also support the idea of national health insurance. The catch is that the youth vote is often much hyped, but tends to matter little as in the end many younger voters do not bother to go out and vote.
As the National Journal reported only 20 million 18-29 year olds cast ballots in 2004 out of a possible 125 million. This means that the youth turnout was only 43 per cent compared to the national average of 63 per cent. Despite these numbers, many think the youth vote can make a difference. Joe Courtney was recently elected to the House of Representatives from Connecticut where he beat Republican incumbent Rob Simmons by only a thin double digit margin (93 votes). Courtney’s office reckons that the time spent on University campuses might have been a deciding factor in getting the extra number of votes Courtney needed to wrestle the seat away from Simmons.
Given the extremely charged political situation in the US and a only a 28 per cent approval rating for the President among 17-29 year olds, perhaps in 2008 America’s younger voters will turn out in greater numbers than ever before.
The views expressed above do not necessarily reflect those of RUSI