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

July 2015 E-Update

July 28th, 2015
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Exclusive Analysis: Youth Turnout in 2014 Lowest Ever Recorded

A new CIRCLE analysis of recently released data shows that only 19.9% of young people, ages 18-29, cast ballots in the 2014 midterm elections—the lowest youth turnout rate ever recorded in the U.S. Census’ Current Population Survey (CPS). The percentage of young people who said that they were registered to vote (46.7%) was also the lowest in the past 40 years.

Our analysis suggests several possible reasons for this decline. Only one in ten young people were in states with competitive congressional races, and 12.4 million youth were “under-mobilized,” meaning they registered but did not cast a ballot, which suggests a lack of outreach on the part of campaigns.

More of our analysis here, and read what the the Washington Post opinion page had to say about our data here.

How Do Young People Decide Whom to Vote for?

As we continue examining the role of youth in 2016, we’re taking a look at not just who young people might vote for, but at the factors that may influence their decisions. And contrary to some common narratives about young voters, our recent analysis of exit poll data indicates that youth care more about candidates’ issue positions than about their personal qualities. In fact, young voters reported valuing candidates’ stances on the issues by a wider margin than any other age group.

The data does suggest that young voters were drawn to candidates whom they perceived as more “in touch” with them, as well as to those who presented themselves as having a different approach and being able to bring about change.

Read more.

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

Peter Levine Gives Keynote at #BreakingThrough

Last week, Peter Levine, the Associate Dean for Research at Tisch College—our home organization—and former Director of CIRCLE, gave the keynote address at the Knight Foundation’s Breaking Through: Increasing Civic Engagement Before, During, and After Elections, hosted by the Annette Strauss Institute of Civic Life at the University of Texas.

Entitled “The Year the People Took Back Politics: A Vision for 2016,” Levine’s remarks offered a sobering reflection on the challenges to engaging citizens in modern presidential elections, while arguing that innovation and collaboration across sectors can generate much-needed democratic renewal.

Watch the speech here.

Frontiers of Democracy

Last month, Tisch College hosted its annual Frontiers of Democracy Conference. The gathering featured rousing presentations and interactive workshops with top civic leaders, researchers, and practitioners.

Read about the conference and watch video here, or review the conversation as it happened on Twitter through #DemFront.

© 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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