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UPDATED – 2014 Midterms: Young Voters in Competitive Senate Races

October 10th, 2014
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NOTE: This post was update on October 10th to add information on two more states.

CIRCLE’s interactive, state-by-state map on youth voting and youth demographics presents data on young people’s turnout and registration rate, in both midterm and presidential elections going back to 1982, as well as current population data. The map allows us to look back at historical trends in youth voting, but also to look forward to the possible impact of youth voting in the upcoming midterm elections.

A handful of competitive races in states like Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, and North Carolina may decide which party has control of the U.S. Senate this November, and the data suggests that young voters could play an important role in these nationally watched contests.

Some key facts about youth voting and demographics in these races (click on each state to view a more detailed fact sheet):

  • In Alaska, incumbent U.S. Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) is defending a seat that he won in 2008 by roughly 4,000 votes[1]. Youth ages 18-29 make up 25.6% of the state’s population—the second highest rate in the country.
  • Colorado’s incumbent Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) is seeking reelection in a state with a particularly high turnout rate among young, registered voters. In the 2010 midterm election, 59.6% of registered youth went to the polls, 11 percentage points higher than the national average.
  • More than a quarter (26.1%) of young citizens in Louisiana cast a ballot in 2010, a total of nearly 300,000 voters. Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu’s margin of victory in 2008 was less than half that amount[2]. Young African-Americans, who make up 41.8% of young citizens, may play an especially prominent role.
  • Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) is defending her seat in North Carolina, where her margin of victory in 2008 was just over 361,000 votes[3]. That’s well shy of the 585,000 young people who voted in the 2010 midterm. There are a total of 1.4 million 18 to 29-year-old citizens in North Carolina, which gives it one of the ten highest youth populations in the country.
  • There are approximately 407,000 young citizens ages 18-29 in the state of Arkansas, where Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) is defending his seat. 52.5% of young Arkansans (18-29) do not have college experience, which is much higher than the national rate (40.1%).
  • In Kentucky, young people cast 352,000 votes in the last mid-term election back in November of 2010.  In 2008, incumbent Senator Mitch McConnell won election by a margin of only 106,811 votes [4].

Explore our interactive map to see all the data about youth voting in these states and across the country. You can also visit our 2014 Election Center for more data and resources related to the upcoming midterms, including our map of youth voting by congressional district.


[1] http://www.elections.alaska.gov/results/08GENR/data/results.htm

[2] http://staticresults.sos.la.gov/11042008/11042008_Congressional.html

[3] http://www.ncsbe.gov/ncsbe/Elections/Election-Results-Display?ED1=11xx04xx2008&EL1=GENERAL&YR1=2008&CR1=A

[4] http://elect.ky.gov/SiteCollectionDocuments/Election%20Results/2000-2009/2008/General%20Election/STATEwide%20by%20office%20gen%2008.txt

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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