Preliminary Thoughts on Barack's Victory and the Youth Vote (Updated)
by Mike Connery, Thu Jan 03, 2008 at 05:08:57 PM EST
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.
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.