Young people and voting

As we will see over the next couple of weeks in class, the 18-25 age-group has traditionally had the lowest voter turnout rate of any age group.  In 2008, however, turnout for this group was up.  Moreover, young people voted overwhelmingly for Obama in the 2008 election.

The following analysis was aired by PBS about ten days ago.  Watch the piece, and then consider the following questions.  Do your friends and/or family members who are between 18 and 25 intend to vote next month?  If not, why not?  How engaged do they seem to be in the election campaign this year?

Soon we’ll conduct a survey of our upper school students.  Whom do you expect students to support in that poll:  President Obama or Governor Romney?



10 responses to “Young people and voting”

  1. jack7 says :

    My friends between the ages of 18 and 25 all seem extremely engaged in the election. In fact, most of them are active participants in one of the two campaigns. Therefore, they will definitely be voting next month, the majority of those votes being for the President. I expect the student poll to show similar results. Demographics-wise, PDS represents all races, religions, socio-economic backgrounds, etc. but feels decidedly liberal, especially in social politics. As for economic politics, I think the school is more divided. Still, Romney and Ryan’s social policies are conservative enough to alienate the majority of students at PDS, resulting in a (PDS) win for Obama.

  2. Tanya4 says :

    I found it striking that this video said that young voters had had a huge impact on the election in 2008, and yet many young voters still aren’t voting today. Is this due to the lack of excitement or the belief that ones vote wont have any effect? Regarding those I know, most of my family members and friends are very partisan in their political views and are definitely voting on November Sixth. In fact, some of my family members have been very active in the presidents campaign and have participated in fundraisers, and rallys etc. Regarding PDS, i think that as Jack said, the school is decisively liberal on social policies. However from a fiscal standpoint I believe its less clear cut. The question is, will the socially liberal but fiscally conservative support the governor or the president, and my bets are on the president.

  3. Lizzie1 says :

    I think that in general, the 18-25 demographic does not spend a lot of time engaging themselves in politics and researching candidates. Therefore, there are certain “x-factors” that catch the attention of the younger age group, which could be the deciding factor for their vote. In 2008, Obama’s hope and likeabilty were probably what put him over the top with the 18-25 year olds, not necessarily his policies. My friends and family who are between 18 and 25 are intending to vote, but are not as engaged as the voters I know who are older. I expect that in the poll at PDS, Obama will win by a slimmer margin than he won the school-wide election in 2008. As PBS said, Romney’s socially conservative views will turn some young voters off in the general election, and I think that it will be the same way with the students at school.

  4. Adam7 says :

    A common complaint I hear from kids our age is that neither candidate is perfect, which turns them off to the entire political process. Because of this disillusionment, many young people I know were not as active this election as they were in 2008 (though almost all still plan on voting).

    As for PDS’s vote, I am going to go out on a limb and predict an upset win by Romney. This by no means indicates that I believe that the majority of PDS students support the Governor; I am relatively certain that the opposite is true. But, most kids won’t answer the poll, and especially after Romney’s debate performance, conservatives are going to have higher “turnout.” Let’s hope I eat crow on this one…

  5. Naiyah1 says :

    Many relatives and friends I know in the 18-25 demographic still plan to vote, though, as Adam said, they are not as engaged as they were in 2008. This is probably due to several factors. 2008 was a year of political unrest and included many possible first-time candidates, which I think interested many people. Obama’s likability and apparent rejection of old-fashioned beliefs in comparison to his competitors were major factors in his great turnout amongst younger voters. Now that the hype has died down about Obama, I don’t think that his younger followers are as enthusiastic, which may manifest itself through the polls.

    As far as PDS, I think all those who answered before me really said it well. We are generally socially liberal and fiscally split. Romney’s conservatism will probably put him slightly under.

  6. BenLev4 says :

    I believe there are two aspects of Romney that will ultimately turn off young voters. 1) His socially right wing stance. I believe that this scares many young women voters. 2) While Obama is slowly getting older looking, I believe that Romney’s age plus success in the private sector puts him out of the comfort zone with young voters. Although he succeeded in Denver, I believe if Romney really wants to capture the 18-25 year old vote, he must continue to take advantage of social media like Obama did so strongly in ’08.

    For the most part, I think we can agree that Princeton is a socially lefty city. I believe PDS is a socially liberal high school. For high schoolers, we aren’t making money for a living, therefore won’t be voting with our pocket. The social aspect is what we will be voting on and I believe that the poll of PDS will follow in suit with the current poll of New Jersey, as Obama will take a lead.

  7. sophiae7 says :

    An overwhelming majority of the people I know who are eligible to vote will be voting next month. Although they are all intent on voting, they are definitely not as excited as they were four years ago. I agree with Naiyah when she said, “that the hype has died down about Obama.” Many people that I know are very discouraged about the current state of our country, making them less enthusiastic about this upcoming presidential race/election.

    I agree with everyone’s statement that PDS, in general, is more liberal. PDS is definitely socially liberal but fiscally speaking, PDS is more undecided. I think that if there were a mock election done at PDS, Obama would win by a landslide. But if Romney had more moderate views on social issues and didn’t have Paul Ryan as his running mate, I think the election would be much closer.

  8. Nick4 says :

    I don’t understand why 18-25 year olds aren’t the demographic with the highest voting turnout. For me at least, I can’t wait to participate in elections, no matter who the candidates are. Every first-time voter should have a sense of responsibility and excitement to be apart of this unique system, but it seems like more and more often, young voters are obtaining a low political efficacy due to the lack of action and change in the government. This is hurting the Democrats, since the young voters supposedly won the election for Obama in 2008, and will continue to be an important factor in the elections to come. The Democratic party needs to convince young voters that they are the change, and successfully do it, if they want to continue getting a high turnout of young voters, therefore increasing the number of votes for the Democratic candidate.
    Obama held a strong lead with the young voters, obtaining 60% of the votes. While this is lower than in 2008, it’s still a strong lead, and it shows that Democrats will continue to win the young voters unless the Republicans drastically change their platform and distance themselves from the Evangelical Christians.

  9. Jen1 says :

    A little over half the people I know in the 18-25 age groups voted. I think a lot of young people don’t understand how politics affect them. In fact, they don’t care at times. I would know this because I too, have low political efficacy. Politics very much feels like a “grown-up’s game”. I know at times, it feels like everyone’s voting, just because they say, “Hey, I’m voting!” But do they really? I don’t think so. But even if they do, I bet that more than half will be jumping onto the bandwagon, which happened to be Obama. If I knew as much as the average teen in America knew about politics, I would know nothing more than “young people vote for Obama.” So why not do that, ‘cause everybody’s doing it. I think we have too much faith in young people. The truth is most people won’t think analytically about politics until they think it has something to do with them. The question is always, do you vote for the nation, or yourself? I think most young people would choose themselves, and because they don’t make a living or pay taxes, they won’t take politics seriously until their old enough to have something at stake.

  10. Natesa1 says :

    My friends and family between the ages of 18 and 25 have been split between being very engaged in this years election and not so much. Many of them, especially the new voters, were excited to participate because voting is a new experience and some feel as though it was their duty to vote. On the other hand some had extremely low political efficacy and felt as though their vote didn’t make a difference and only decided to vote because of the pressure they felt from peers and/or older family members. I think in the past, voter turn out for the younger people have been lower, because they assumed that whoever was to become president their ideas and policies would not necessarily have a great affect on them or even affect them at all, but between the 2008 and 2012 elections, their lives and education could have been more at risk. Both Obama and Romney took a greater stand this year on college education and the creation of jobs which may have worried those young people and encouraged them to vote for which ever candidate they assumed would have their best interest at heart.

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