Youth voters aged 18-29 participated in the 2020 election in far greater numbers than in 2016, according to a new turnout analysis released by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE). A majority of young people, somewhere between 52-55%, turned out to vote earlier this month as compared to the 45-48% who voted in 2016.
The analysis also concluded that youth voters, particularly those of color, helped push the Biden-Harris ticket to victory in critical swing states that helped secure a Democratic victory.
A press release from CIRCLE at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life reads:
Young people, especially youth of color, were critical to the Biden-Harris victory in key battleground states like Georgia and Arizona, where Black and Latino youth may have single-handedly made Biden competitive.
For example, in Georgia, which Biden narrowly flipped, an estimated 188,000 more young voters backed Biden than chose President Donald Trump. Notably, that vote margin overwhelmingly came from youth of color: 90% of Black youth supported Biden in Georgia while 62% of young white voters supported Trump.
The findings were based on CIRCLE’s review of census population data and the National Election Pool exit poll. But the high level of youth involvement this cycle wasn’t confined to voting. Preelection surveys conducted by CIRCLE found young people were also particularly engaged in preelection activism:
- 83% of youth believe young people have the power to change the country;
- 79% realized because of COVID-19 that decisions made by elected leaders impact people’s everyday lives;
- 50% tried to convince others to vote;
- 25% helped register voters; and
- 27% marched or protested.
And while not all young people voted for President-elect Joe Biden, the only group of young voters who favored Donald Trump were those without a college education: 57% for Trump to 41% for Biden. “By contrast, a majority of both Black youth (88%) and Latino youth (73%) without college experience voted for Biden. White youth with a college degree also preferred Biden, 63% to 34%, while Black (87%) and Latino (77%) college graduates also supported Biden by even higher margins,” writes CIRCLE.
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