The 2012 Youth Vote: GOP Primaries

February 1, 2012

Four percent of eligible Florida voters under the age of 30 participated in the Florida primary, according to preliminary analysis by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE), and they voted for former Gov. Mitt Romney ahead of Rep. Ron Paul by a margin of 16 percentage points – even though youth were Romney’s weakest age group and Paul drew almost four times as many young voters as he did in the 2008 primary.

The youth turnout, at 4%, was higher than it had been in 2004, the last time only one party held a contested Florida primary. Recent years in which both the Republicans and the Democrats held competitive races in Florida, 2000 and 2008, youth turned out at a rate of 4% and 13%, respectively.

CIRCLE Director Peter Levine noted, “Ron Paul won the youth vote in Iowa and New Hampshire, but he came in second in Florida and third in South Carolina – states with much larger populations. Next up is Nevada, another small state, where fewer than 5,000 young people participated in the Republican caucuses in 2008. It would be possible for a candidate like Paul to win the youth vote in Nevada with a concentrated effort. Mitt Romney drew more young voters in Florida this year than in 2008, but the turnout still raises questions about his appeal to youth.”

Click the link below to check out more graphs outlining the youth vote turnouts and projections. 

What about the youth vote counts at the caucuses? Click here.