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

2014 Election E-Update

November 5th, 2014
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CIRCLE 2014 Election Analysis:
21% Youth Turnout, 13% Youth Share, Young Voters Favor Democrats

In an effort to understand the role that young people played in Tuesday’s midterm contests, we have released exclusive, post-election data and analysis on youth turnout, youth share, and youth vote choice in 2014.

Youth Turnout

Our exclusive, preliminary youth turnout estimate shows that at least 9.9 million young Americans (ages 18-29), or 21.3%, voted in Tuesday’s midterm election, according to national exit polls, demographic data, and current counts of votes cast. That’s very close to our early estimate of 20.4 percent at this time in the last midterm election (2010). It’s also comparable to the last five midterm elections, when youth voter turnout has been between 20% and 24%

Youth Share

Preliminary exit poll data indicate that young people represented 13% of the voters in yesterday’s midterm elections, according to the early release National Exit Polls.

That number is subject to revision, but should it remain at 13%, it will represent a slight increase from the 2010 midterm’s youth share of 12%. As with the youth turnout estimate, it would also be in line with recent trends: in the last 20 years, the youth share in midterm elections has been between 11% and 13%

Youth Vote Choice

Our post-election analysis also revealed that young voters mostly threw their support behind Democratic candidates for the House and Senate. In the national exit poll data on House races, 18 to 29-year-olds preferred Democrats, 55% to 42%.

The pattern was similar in many competitive Senate races. For example youth in Georgia favored Democratic candidate Michelle Nunn by 20 points (59% to 39%), and Kansas Independent candidate Greg Orman by 24 points (60% to 36%), but both candidates lost because their opponents drew similar disproportionate support from older demographics.

Stay connected to CIRCLE on Facebook and Twitter to learn more. Sign up here for CIRCLE’s monthly e-update.

Do Controversial Ballot Measures Increase Youth Voter Turnout?

Prior to Tuesday’s midterm elections, we took a look at whether referenda on controversial issues like marijuana legalization and gay marriage encourage more more young people to go to the polls and increase youth voter turnout.

Our conclusion: the evidence does not support that claim, and it is likely that ballot measures have no effect on turnout unless accompanied by increased voter mobilization and media coverage.

Read more here, and check back on our website for an update about 2014 youth turnout in states with controversial
ballot measures.


CIRCLE 2014 Election Center

The 2014 elections have passed, but the conversation about the role of young people in this year’s midterms is
just beginning.

We will continue to update the 2014 Election Center with our latest data and analysis about Tuesday’s midterms. The Election Center also contains valuable resources for understanding and contextualizing youth voting.

Check back frequently over the coming days and weeks for the latest 2014 election updates.

© 2010 CIRCLE (The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement)

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Find more analysis in our 2016 Election Center. For regular updates in your Inbox about youth and the 2016 election, sign up for CIRCLE's monthly E-Update here.

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