Circle Graphics

Youth on the Trail: Election 2012

FOUR YEARS AGO, predictions of an unprecedented youth vote grabbed headlines—and, indeed, turnout in the 2008 eleciton was the second largest in American history. Today's headlines sound a different beat. "Fate of 2012 Election Falling Into the Hands of the Tuned-Out Youth Vote," a recent article on warns, drawing on data from pollster John Zogby that suggest Obama's fate will rest among a cohort that feels abandoned by the political and economic system.

High youth unemployment, skyrocketing college debt, the anguish of undocumented immigrant youth, a crumbling public education system, the toll of ongoing wars, the excesses of the "one percent". . . . How can today's 18 to 29-year-olds not feel disillusioned?

What does the political landscape look like to America's youngest voters in 2012? Which issues grab them most? What shapes their thinking? What are politically active youth saying and doing? Are politicians paying attention? As a headline in the National Journal recently asked: "Can Obama recapture the youth vote?"

From now through the November 2012 election, WKCD will provide answers to these questions and more—just as we did in 2008. We will:

    • Bring you a special youth political beat—through a partnership with Y-Press, a remarkable youth-led news bureau in Indianapolis. Y-Press journalists will log in articles, interviews, and survey results. They will also file stories from the floor of the Democratic and Republican national conventions this summer.
    • Scour the local and national news for stories about youth on the campaign trail—and post them here.
    • Keep you linked to the most robust national organizations devoted to youth and politics.

Let's begin, though, with some background, including facts and figures about the youth vote in the 2008 presidential election.


Welcome to Youth on the Trail 2012!

Background on the youth vote



Y-Press Election Coverage 2012

National youth vote organizations



Commentary, news, alternate media,youth essays

Lesson Plans around the 2012 Election

New York Times Learning Blogs

Center for Actions Civics

PBS News Hour: Analyzing the Candidates

National Constitution Center


Kids on the Wire

Shout Outs



have a story for wkcd?

Want to bring public attention
to your work? WKCD invites
submissions from youth and
educators worldwide.

Write to us


“There’s a radical—and wonderful—new idea here… that all children could and should be inventors of their own theories, critics of other people’s ideas, analyzers of evidence, and makers of their own personal marks on the world.”

– Deborah Meier, educator