Americans Under 30 Are Revved Up to Vote: A Look at the Numbers

This is the most interest in a mid-term election that pollsters have seen since 2006.
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Stickers are made available to voters who cast a ballot in the mid-term elections at the Polk County Election Office on October 8th, 2018, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Stickers are made available to voters who cast a ballot in the mid-term elections at the Polk County Election Office on October 8th, 2018, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Americans under 30 are more excited to vote this year than they've been for elections in the recent past, according to Harvard University's Institute of Politics National Youth Poll.

In the fall of 2006, just before a "wave" election that won Democrats control of the House of Representatives and Senate under President George W. Bush, researchers working for the Institute of Politics were excited about the results they were seeing. "Midterm Election Turnout Could Be Historic," they wrote in a report at the time. Thirty-two percent of 18- to 29-year-olds they had contacted said they would "definitely vote" in the upcoming mid-term elections for Congressional seats.

Now, the same poll, conducted between October 3rd and 17th, finds that 40 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds plan to "definitely vote." That's more than said the same not only in 2006, but in 2010, in 2014, and even six months ago.

(That said, actual turnout may be lower. Census data suggests that, at least among the very youngest voters, 18 to 24 years old, 20 percent voted in 2006 and 2010, and 16 percent voted in 2014.)

Interest is highest this year among young Democratic voters, although Republicans have gained ground since the spring:

Among young voters, approval ratings for Republican congress members and President Donald Trump are low:

Beyond the political parties, the Harvard researchers asked young voters about their approval for several democratic socialist ideas that have garnered attention this year, with candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Several policies received majority support:

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