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

September 2018 E-Update

September 28th, 2018
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Are Political Parties and Campaigns Reaching Youth in Civic Deserts?

In our third post on civic deserts, places where young people perceive that they have little access to civic institutions and opportunities, we examine whether political parties and campaigns—which theoretically try to attract voters everywhere in the country—are indeed reaching young people in civic deserts.

According to our Millennial polls conducted just before and after the 2016 election, young people in civic deserts were about as likely as other youth to be contacted at least once by a political campaign—roughly 50% received that sort of direct outreach.

Likewise, in 2016, youth in civic deserts were not substantially less likely than others to see political ads. However, while more than 1 in 5 of moderate/high access youth said they saw “a lot” of political ads, that number was 15% for youth in civic deserts. Other gaps manifested in the platforms on which young people saw political ads and whether they were motivated to engage.

It is important to understand these differences in information and activation through different media platforms and, indeed, all differences between youth in civic deserts and their peers with better access to civic opportunities.

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Did Young People Propel Candidate to Victory in Key Democratic Primary?

On September 4th, Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley scored a somewhat surprising victory over 10-term incumbent Congressman Mike Capuano in the Democratic primary for the Massachusetts 7th Congressional district, which encompasses parts of CIRCLE’s home at Tufts University.

In a recent analysis, we examined to what extent young people, and especially youth of color, helped propel Pressley to victory. We looked at precincts where support for her was strongest, and found:

  • Areas with high percentages of youth and people of color strongly backed Pressley
  • Turnout increased most dramatically from 2014 in these youth-dense, highly diverse precincts
  • Capuano performed best in precincts with few youth and few people of color (PoC)

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Meet 22×20’s New Youth Leadership Coordinator!

22×20 is a network of media, cultural, and educational partners amplifying and diversifying teen voice, political expression, and media creation in the lead-up to the 2020 election and beyond. The network is co-led by CIRCLE and The LAMP.

We’re excited to share an introductory blog post from 22×20’s Donya Nasser, who has an important message about young people’s political engagement: “Wait our turn? Not anymore.”

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#SSChat: Midterms Matter

Join us and the Teaching for Democracy Alliance for a Twitter chat focused on how educators are teaching about the 2018 election in their classrooms, schools, and districts.

Join the conversation by following #sschat on Monday, October 1st at 7:00 pm!


CIRCLE in the News

– VICE: How to Vote for the First Time as a College Student 

– Christian Science Monitor: College-age voters: increasingly courted – and thwarted

– Iowa City Press-Citizen: Who will mobilize the youth vote for midterm 2018?

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