Preliminary Thoughts on Barack's Victory and the Youth Vote (Updated)

Earlier today, Time Magazinewrote that Obama's youth strategy was nothing more than an attempt to appeal to the nostalgia of older voters. Tonight, Senator Barack Obama proved them wrong, and rode a wave of youth support to victory, putting to rest the myth that reaching out to young voters is a fruitless cause.

It's still early, and there's lots of data crunching to be done, but here's how things are shaping up thus far based on on-air reporting from the major cable networks, here's what we know so far:

  • CNN is saying that Obama won 57% of the 17-29 year old vote, and MSNBC entrance polling analysis says that Obama won 57% of all 17-24 year olds. (video below) Either one is outstanding.
  • Fox News is reporting that 60% of all caucus goers were first-time caucusers, and 39% of those votes went for Obama.
  • This is more tentative and I will update later in the night, but CNN reported that young people's turnout was 25%, which means they out performed their share of the population which is 22%. Exit polling data from CNN is now saying that youth share of the electorate was 22%, equal to their share of the population. So for every 100 caucus-goers, 22 of them were young people.
  • If the last is true, then young people had an 8% increase in turnout (from 17% share of the electorate in 2004, to 25% in 2008. This means that youth share of the electorate increased, by 5% over 2004, when youth were 17% (as estimated by CIRCLE).

More updates on data as the numbers are double checked and solidified.

Lessons Learned

So what does this tell us?

First, that young voters are not a waste of time or resources. They can be an invaluable and large constituency if you respect them and reach out to them.

Second, the youth vote continues to trend upwards, increasing their turnout levels during the Iowa caucus for the second time in a row.

Third, that David Yepsen and the naysayers were wrong about the youth vote. VERY wrong.

Fourth, that young voters, who are leaning increasingly progressive can present a huge advantage to Democrats in the upcoming General Election. It was a smart move for Hillary, Edwards and Obama to all hire youth staff early in the primary process, and this investment in young people will return huge dividends for us in upcoming election.

Tags: Barack Obama, Iowa, youth vote (all tags)

Comments

12 Comments

Voters Want Change. Establishment Loses.


by DerekLarsson 2008-01-03 05:14PM | 0 recs
This is great news for the Democratic party, but

it took Obama to inspire younger voters. All credit to Obama. He may be building the coalition the Democrats have been lacking all these sorry, losing years.

by nerdoff 2008-01-03 05:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Preliminary Thoughts on Barack's Victory and t

No No, Mike, Obama got 57% of his 38% of the total vote from youths. That means he won even more than 57% of the youth vote (I estimate more like 75%). And youths had a 50% increase in turnout, 8 percentage points not 8%.  

by RyeGuy5555 2008-01-03 05:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Preliminary Thoughts on Barack's Victory and t
No, check the CNN entrance polling data. The two statistics are disentangled from each other. They are now saying that he won 57% of teh 17-29 vote and that he wond 41% of all first time caucus goers, who made up 57% of the electorate.

Youth To Power: How Today's Young Voters Are Building Tomorrow's Progressive Majority - buy the book!
by Mike Connery 2008-01-03 05:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Preliminary Thoughts on Barack's Victory and t

Yeah, no. That's just what the fashion model on TV who doesn't know how to read her own graphics or understand statistical impossibility thinks happened.

Not your fault, though. Thanks, MSNBC!

by JoeFelice 2008-01-03 05:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Preliminary Thoughts on Barack's Victory and t

One thing that bothers me is that people in this age group are by far the most likely to believe there is some kind of problem with Social Security.  I used to believe that too, but now I'm a little bit older and a little bit more knowledgeable.

I want to see Obama appeal to these voters by inspiring them and persuading them to support Democratic values, not by reinforcing their false beliefs.

It's a minor point.  This is obviously strong news for the future of our party.

by Steve M 2008-01-03 05:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Preliminary Thoughts on Barack's Victory and t

This pouts a dagger through the heart of the conventional wisdom about the youth vote.

"They don't vote" - Rest In Peace, 1972-2008

by howardpark 2008-01-03 05:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Preliminary Thoughts on Barack's Victory and t

Are you saying you'll be voting GOP, indie, or not voting in Nov if Obama's the nominee?

by zonk 2008-01-03 05:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Preliminary Thoughts on Barack's Victory and t

Maybe you'd like Cheney best then.

by JoeFelice 2008-01-03 05:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Preliminary Thoughts on Barack's Victory and t

Point taken, friend. But if I pull the lever for Obama over Romney or McCain, I will be voting, not only for a man whom I believe is qualified to be president (11 years teaching constitutional law), I will be voting for an EPA, and an FCC, and an FDA, an NSA, a CIA, a Supreme Court, and thousands of people who will operate the mechanics of government in the way you and I want them to; instead of subverting their respective missions and abusing their power. Your experience vote for 1-term governor Mitt Romney will double Guantanamo. We have 11 months to change our minds.

by JoeFelice 2008-01-03 08:13PM | 0 recs
Shameless plug

So I've got to do this, especially on a night when the youth vote came out so strong.

Today's results are the work of a lot of great people who have been working to get the youth vote out for the last four years.

For the last year, it's been my pleasure to meet all these people and I've just finished writing a book about how progressive youth politics has been transformed in the last 4 years.

The book is called Youth To Power, and it will be published in March by Ig Publishing, the good people who published Jeff Feldman's Frameshop book.

The book is available here on amazon:

Youth To Power: How Today's Young Voters Are Building Tomorrow's Progressive Majority - buy the book!

by Mike Connery 2008-01-03 05:34PM | 0 recs
This really misses the point

In the precinct I worked in Uniondale, the generation gap was increadible.  

In the Clinton side of the room were the old.  In the Edwards side of the room there were the old and the middle aged.

In the Obama corner were the young.

Obama won the under 30 vote 57-14.

The young are simply connecting to Obama in a way that the other candidates are not.

It was amazing: I felt like I was present at a revolution.

by fladem 2008-01-03 08:18PM | 0 recs

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