Nevada and South Carolina: Youth Voting Results

January 21, 2008

Young Voter's PAC calls it "more than just a one night stand" and the Young Democrats of America call it a "Revolution," the turnout for progressive candidates far surpassed GOP candidates in Nevada on Saturday by a 3:1 margin.

After the unbelievable turnout we saw with young voters in Iowa, who caucused overwhelmingly for Illinois Senator Barack Obama, New Hampshire's primary voters 25-29 joined NY Senator Hillary Clinton. In Nevada, Barack Obama regained those lost voters and claimed 59% of 19-29 year olds with Clinton seeing a mere 33% of young voters. By contrast, seniors (that's folks over 60 not kids in their last year of high school) voted for Clinton 60% to Obama's 31%.

ED of YDA Alexandra Acker says:

"The road to the White House goes through the West and our Democratic candidates made a concerted effort to reach this crucial demographic in Nevada because they know young voters will provide the margin of victory not only in the primary but in November.”

Jason Fromoltz, President of the Young Democrats of Nevada went further to say, “Young Democrats worked to educate our peers about the caucus process and helped get young voters out to participate. In November, young voters will turn Nevada blue.”

While it was a significantly lower turnout, Young Nevada Republicans also went decisively for Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney with 50%. In second place was Texas Congressman Ron Paul with a distant 13% of young voters. Surprisingly, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, the youthy candidate (buddy to Chuck Norris) who won young Iowans, got only 7% of Nevada's young voters, according to CNN entrance polls.

The tables were turned in South Carolina, however, where Huckabee finished a close second, shoring up young voters 18-29 (35%) and 30-44 year olds (37%) compared to McCain's 28% among 18-29 and 23% among 30-44 year olds. McCain, however, won big with older folks, who turned out for the GOP in significantly higher numbers than young people (90% of republican voters were over 30).

It's no surprise the GOP is faltering when it comes to getting out the vote for young people. The only candidate offering specific youth outreach is Ron Paul with his student page. Others come close -- Mitt Romney's sons do a 5 Brothers Blog where they spend much of their time causing trouble, which I can respect. John McCain has a Women For and Huckabee has, well, Chuck Norris and a base guitar. I feel like I'm reaching, don't you?

“It's clear young people are keeping Obama competitive and that they are much more excited by Democrats overall,” said Jane Fleming Kleeb, the Executive Director of the Young Voter PAC. “Campaigns need to continue to target young people if they want them to turn out. Democrats have a significant advantage among young voters, and we will be the difference between winning and losing in November. The earlier the campaigns partner with youth groups on the ground and run targeted field programs, the larger the number of young people will show up and help carry the candidate over the victory line.” (Emphasis added.)

Note to candidates: if you build it, they will come.