Will Young Voters Show Up for Obama?

Black young voters

A new series of reports released last week by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE), show that minority youth are enthusiastic about the upcoming election and a large majority intend to vote to re-elect President Obama.

CIRCLE, a youth research organization out of Tufts University, surveyed 1,695 young people between the ages of 18-29 this summer and then surveyed 1,109 of the same group in October.  What they found is that a group of minority youth showed an increased interest and enthusiasm in voting from the first survey to the second.  Between July and October, there was a nearly 10% jump of intention t vote in the election among the young people surveyed.

"The racial and ethnic group breakout shows that there is a rise in intent to vote among the three groups whom we polled in large numbers, with an impressive three quarters of Black youth intending to vote. Although most youth still have not been contacted on behalf of a presidential campaign, more have been contacted than this summer, and Latinos are most likely to have received outreach. One problem area continues to be young people's lack of awareness of state voting laws," said CIRCLE director Peter Levine.

The report shows that 75% of Black youth say they are very likely to vote in the 2012 election defying the mainstream media narrative that the youth vote is unreliable and that President Obama’s base is not enthusiastic this year.  Hispanic youth also are very likely to vote and 56.6% of those surveyed have made up their minds and will support the president.  President Obama’s support increased by 14% among young Hispanics between July and October.

That support, coupled with and high percentage of minority youth paying attention to politics this cycle, bodes well for the president’s chances tomorrow. Furthermore, Hispanic youth were more likely to be contacted by one of the presidential campaigns and considering how important this demographic group is in determining the outcome of the election this statistic is not at all surprising.  Black youth surveyed are also frequently contacted, particularly by the Obama campaign, in an attempt to reactivate the base which came out in historic numbers four years ago.

As far as the issues go, 59% of Black youth surveyed by CIRCLE said the country is moving in the right direction, which is in sharp contrast to only 23.6% of White youth respondents.  Hispanic youth are more uncertain with 41.1% of those surveyed “unsure” about whether the country is moving in the right direction.  Unsurprisingly, all of the groups surveyed cited jobs and the economy as the most important issue that politicians need to address.

With Election Day less than 24 hours away, we'll soon see if the youth vote can make a huge difference yet again.