Getting It Wrong

Twenty-year-old Joshua Clayton lives six miles away from the Cal campus, in West Oakland. Walking around his neighborhood, he says it’s pretty much been the same his whole life, no matter who is president. Lots of poverty, too much violence, and decaying infrastructure. As for politicians: “To me, nobody deserves my hope,” Clayton told me. “Because not one person on earth can prove themselves.” Clayton didn’t want to vote because he didn’t expect it to change anything. But his grandma kept working on him, telling him, “One vote really can make a difference.” And he surprised even himself, and cast a ballot. - Sayre Quevedo, Youth Radio, 11.9.12

If you've followed the headlines for the past six months, you never would have predicted that young people like Joshua Clayton would find their way to the voting booth. One thing seemed (almost) sure: the youth vote in the 2102 Election would fall short of its 2008 record. Way short, some intoned.

Since March, we have tracked and posted what mainstream and alternative media were saying—and predicting—about the youth turnout in the 2012 election.Youth voting, we were told, had returned to its old "normal": tending toward apathetic. Obama had let down his 2008 young supporters, it seemed, and this disillusionment would keep them from the ballot box in 2012. The sour economy, we heard, had also soured youth on the practice of citizenship.

They got it wrong.

The post-election headlines—to our delight—sing a different song. Here are some examples.


Youth vote decides presidential election – again. Is this the new normal? The youth vote proved decisive in Tuesday's presidential election, just as it did in 2008. But this year, it was a far greater surprise.

Millennials made it to the polls in droves Tuesday – proving themselves a central voting bloc in swing states and defying speculation that their enthusiasm had waned since the days of Barack Obama’s historic candidacy in 2008.

People age 18 to 29 made up 19 percent of voters in this election cycle, up 1 percentage point from 2008, according to early National Exit Poll (NEP) data. President Obama won this age group with 60 percent support, versus 37 percent for Mitt Romney.

If Mr. Romney had received at least 50 percent of the support of this age group in the swing states of Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Florida, 80 electoral votes would have gone his way, winning him the presidency, according to an analysis by CIRCLE, an independent research center that measures youth engagement in politics. . . .

Christian Science Monitor, 11.7.12

Why Everyone Got The Youth Vote Wrong

Click here for Youth Radio commentary

Electoral College Results: How the Youth Vote Cost Romney the Presidential Election

There is a popular sentiment that the GOP is the party of “old, white men” and this was heavily reflected in the 2012 presidential election. Not only did women and minorities vote heavily for Obama, but also the youth vote came out in not just similar numbers, but slightly higher numbers than in 2008.

Predictions that the youth voter turnout of 2008 was a fluke or that the youth is largely apathetic fell flat on Tuesday. Youth voters, aged 18-29, turned out as 19% of the electoral vote – a 1% increase from the 2008 election – and these voters were overwhelmingly in favor of President Obama.

Although youth voters were not as one-sided in 2012 as in 2008 (66% and 32% in 2008 vs. 60% and 37% in 2012) it still had a substantial impact on the election. According to a study by The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, the youth vote affected “at least 80” electoral votes. Had Romney been able to split the youth vote in key states like Ohio (62% Obama vs. 35% Romney) or Florida (66% Obama vs. 32% Romney), these blue states could have flipped to red.

In the words of Heather Smith, President of Rock the Vote: “I think we’ve now established a fairly decent pattern that this generation is different from their older brothers and sisters, and we can put those rumors of apathy to bed … This voting bloc can no longer be an afterthought to any party or campaign.” Hopefully, these numbers will continue to rise and we can truly put “the apathy of the youth” behind us. To continue to increase the youth vote, the Fair Elections Legal Network recommends implementing flexible voting registration and improving voting practices as well as targeting young voters specifically for registration and education. These voters are often uninformed about where to vote, when they need to register by, etc. – factors that affect older, seasoned voters to a far lesser degree. . . .

policymic.com, 11.10.12


The Run-Up to the 2012 Election: Commentary, News, and Reports on Youth and Politics

"If more young people spent time reading up and thinking seriously about how this election is going to affect them, we would have so much power in deciding who will be the next president. We need to stop making excuses and take part in making this society better. If we don't get out the vote, we have only ourselves to blame when our leaders ignore us and make bad decisions." - teen journalist George Edwards, in his article "Election 2012: Why More Youth Should Vote."



Youth Engagement Rises Ahead Of Election Day, Survey Finds Young Voters Still Favor Obama (HuffPost Politics, 11.2.12)

Driving the Presidential Election: The Youth Vote (HuffPost College, 11.2.12)

Election Results & the Youth Vote: Teacher Partners with Errol Morris and Our Time to Rally Young Voters (gather.com, 11.2.12)

Seattle youth defy national voter apathy trends (Seattle Times, 11.2.12)

Youth voters engaged in presidential election; favor Obama 52-35%, survey shows (examiner.com, 11.2.12)



Poll: Half of young Latinos intend to vote (NBC Latino, 10.31.12)

Youth vote up in the air (The Orion, 10.30.12)

Obama looks to young voters, many of whom seem uninspired (Los Angeles Times, 10.29.12)

Cultivating youth vote more difficult after four years of hardship (Las Vegas Sun, 10.28.12)

Dignity Beyond Voting: Undocumented Immigrants Cast Their Hopes (The Nation, 10.25.12)

Young, drifting but back(The Economist, 10.27.12)

The Impact of the Youth Vote on Polls - Elections 2012 (NY Times video, 10.24.12)

Vote for Education: Is 52% Enough? (presspasstv video, 10.24.12)

The youth vote: Where is the energy from 2008? (WBEZ 91.5, 10.23.12)

Young Latino vote may be tied to college enrollment (VOXXI, 10.23.12)

New NC law bolsters youth vote through preregistration (The Daily Tar Heel, 10.21.12)

1972: When youths were called to ballot box (Shreveport Times, 10.19.12)

Black Youth Vote! Keep Momentum Going with iThink2012 Campaign (Inland Valley News, 10.19.21)

New Ad Demands Candidates Break Silence on Global Climate Crisis (The Paramus Post, 1018.12)

The youth vote: Candidates still giving it the old college try (Chicago Tribune, 10.18.12)

Obama’s youth vote complication (Washington Post, 10.18.12)

Comedy Central's 5 ways to win youth (Politco, 10.18.12)

Steps to counter voter suppression (New Pittsburgh Courier, 10. 17.12)

Can Online Games Improve Young People's Civic Participation? (HuffPost Politics, 10.17.12)

It's time to extend voting rights to 16- and 17-year-olds (Minnesota Public Radio, 10. 16.12)

Groups work get more youth to vote GOP (UPI.com, 10.15.12)

Vote early in your life (The Brandeis Hoot, 10.12.12)

Senate May Hinge on Women, Latinos, Youth Who Cast a Split-Ticket Vote (The National Journal, 10.11.12)

Vice Presidential Debate: Young Voters Want Specifics On Ryan's Budget (MTV.com, 10.11.12)

On The Last Day To Register To Vote In Colorado, Youth Politics Group NewEra Pushes Hard (HuffPost Denver, 10.11.12)

Seinfeld Actor Jason Alexander Courts Youth Vote For President Obama (WFSU, 10.10.12)

Obama risks millions of youth votes due to economy, debate performance (The Daily Caller, 10.9.12)

Youth Voter Registration Lags in LA, State's Poor Areas UCSD Study (New America Media, 10.8.12)

Latino Voter Registration ‘In High Gear’ for Nov. 6 Election (New American Media, 10.8.12)

Young adults don't think alike on religion, race, government (The Georgia Bulletin, 10.7/12)

Is There a Catholic, Pro-Life Youth Vote? (National Right to Life News Today, 10.5.12)

'Up To Us': What Are Youth Voters Concerned About In The 2012 Elections? (VIDEO) (HuffPost Politics, 10.5.12)

Young People Who Serve Have Right to be Heard This Election (Huff Post Politics, 10.4.12)

Rock The Vote’s We Will Campaign Harnesses the Power of Out-of-Home Media (redorbit.com, 10.3.12)

Youth voter registration up in California (Central Valley Business Times, 10.3.12)

New grassroots organization Students Against Barack Obama targets the youth vote (dailycaller.com, 10.2.12)

Call for Youth Voice in Election 2012 (HuffPost Politics, The Blog: Cory Booker, 10.2.12)

Finding our voice (The Daily Princetonian, 10.1.12)



Youth Vote Enthusiasm in Election 2012 Plummeting: Time to Teach Civics in School Again (Policymic.com, 9.30.12)

Kingmakers No More: Is Gen Y Too Jaded To Vote? (Forbes, 9.30.12)

Are young voters taking down their Obama posters? (Independent Women's Forum, 9.25.12)

‘Not Voting’ should never be an option (byuicomm.net, 9.24.12)

Voter Registration Day Efforts Packed with Obama-Supporting Coalitions (RedAlertPolitics, 9.24.12)

Activists use education to overcome new voting laws (USA Today, 9.22.12)

Voter ID Laws Take Aim At College-Student Voters (HuffPostPolitics, 9.22.12)

High-schoolers deserve the right to vote (Forest Lake Times, 9.19.12)

Promise of youth fails to produce at the polls (Sacramento Bee, 9.16.12)

Rock the Vote goes where young Americans are (San Bernadino Sun, 9.14.12)

Biden seeks youth vote in Wisconsin (Winona Daily News, 9.14.12)

The Voting Power of Young Adults (HuffPostCollege, 9.13.12)

Youth Group Launches "I Vote Pro-Life First" Campus Tour (PRNewswire, 9.13.12)

Voter ID Laws Could Disenfranchise 1 Million Young Minority Voters: Study (HuffPostBlackVoice, 9.13.12)

I’m ready to vote (LA Youth, 9.11.12)

Democrats and Republicans vie for youth vote with predictable tactic (The Maine Campus, 9.10.12)

Poll: Young voters less excited than other age groups (CharlotteObserver.com, 9.9.12)

Jay Z Helps to Get Youth to Vote in Election 2012, Kendrick Lamar Should Do the Same (PolicyMic, 9.8.12)

Do Now: Should the Voting Age Be Lowered? (KQED News, 9.7.12)

One-On-One With Geraldo Rivera At The DNC (HuffPost, 9.7.12)

The Youth Vote: Can Obama Re-create 2008's Magic? (TimeBlog, 9.6.12)

Will the Youth Vote, Crucial to Obama's Reelection, Actually Go to the Polls? (PBS Newshour, 9.4.12)

Democrats make pitch for youth vote (ABC Online, 9.4.12)

Youth vote seen as key for Democrats as delegates gather in Charlotte (Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, 9.3.12)

Young People Will Play a Critical Role in 2012 Democratic National Convention, Says College Democrats of America (The Sacramento Bee, 9.2.12)



Obama Seeks Youth Vote in College Tour of Swing States (Business Week, 8.29.12)

Romney camp fights Obama for youth vote in Iowa (Politico, 8.28.12)

Obama drums up youth vote in Colorado, Iowa (Des Moines Regsiter, 8.28.12)

Social Media's Effect On Young Voters May Be Overblown, Says Professor (HuffPost, 8.27.12)

News analysis: Mitt Romney pulls even in youth vote, says pollster John Zogby (Deseret News, 8.15.12)

Ryan's Uncertain Impact on the Youth Vote (RealClearPolitics.com, 8.15.12)

Voter ID laws: Threatening our right to vote (Washington Post, 8.15.12)

How Republicans Can Attract The Youth Vote (UnitedLiberty.org, 8.13.12)

The False Narrative About Young Voters (HuffPost, 8.10.12)

Millennials Will Stay Home and It's Our Fault (HuffPost, 8.9.12)

New App Designed to Engage Disenfranchised Youth (Fox4News Kansas City, 8.10.12)

Youth Vote Up For Grabs — If They Show (WBUR, 8.7.12)

The Youth Vote: President Obama in Pursuit (NextGenJournal, 8.7.12)

Suppresssing the Youth Vote: Knowledge Is Power for 18-29 Year Old Voters in 2012 (Examiner.com, 8.7.12)

#WINNING? MTV Launching Fantasy Election Game To Engage Youth Voters (HuffPost, 8.7.12)

Urgent social media efforts by Latino organizations aim to get Hispanic youth registered to vote (NBC Latino, 8.6.12)

The Youth Vote 2012: Once Again, With Enthusiasm? (NPR, 8.5.12)

Could tougher voting laws squelch the youth vote? (San Francisco Chronicle, 8.4.12)

Y4D4 Getting City Excited for Election (GoLocal Worcester.com, 8.2.12)

Officials say youth vote important in upcoming election (Beartooth NBC, 8.2.12)

From Someone Who Can't Vote: "Democracy Doesn't Stop at the Polls" (HuffPost Latino Voters, 8.1.12)

Survey: Most Young Adults Do Not Know Their State Voting Laws (Youth Today, 8.1.12)

Cooling of Obama romance puts youth vote in play (Shawnee Dispatch, 8.1.12)


JULY 2012

The Key to Unlocking the Youth Vote: Why Birth Control Is a Force Multiplier in the 2012 Election (RH Reality Check, 31 July 2012)

What is the “Youth Vote”? (Pekin Daily Times blog, 26 July 2012)

Let 17-year-olds Vote (Reuters Blog, 24 July 2012)

Young Man Dedicates his Life to his Country Records "Vote 4 Justice" for Black Youth Vote Before Leaving for the Army (Sacramento Bee, 24 July 2012)

Can Obama Win Back the Youth Vote? (Huffington Post, 22 July 2012)

Minnesota Voter ID Amendment Draws Youth Activists (The Nation, 18 July 2012)

Poll: Lag in Young Voters' Intentions to Vote (CBS News, 13 July 2012)

Latinos, Youth Not as Excited About Voting in 2012 election (NBC Latino, 13 July 2012)

Gaining The Youth Vote: 2012 Edition (NextGen Journal, 12 July 2012)

Has Obama Lost His Best Chance to Rally the Youth Vote? (The New Republic, 3 July 2012)

Lack of Youth Voter Enthusiasm Could Cost Obama the Presidency (theGrio, 2 July 2012)

Election 2012: New Generation Isn't Like the Class of 2008 (Star Tribune National, 1 July 2012)

Stung by Recession, Young Voters Shed Image as Obama Brigade (New York Times, 1 July 2012)



Mitt Romney Aims to Rock the Youth Vote (Politico, 24 June 2012)

Fate of 2012 Election Falling Into the Hands of the Tuned-Out Youth Vote (Alternet.org, 19 June 2012)

Election 2012: DoYoung Latinos Hold the Key? (Latina, 14 June 2012)

Youth Votes Will Drop Significantly in the 2012 Eelction (New America Media/News Report, 12 June 2012)

Obama Pulls Out All Stops on Campuses to Reclaim Support (USA Today, 20 May 2012)

Can Obama Recapture the Youth Vote? (National Journal, 17 May 2012)

Henninger: Memo to the Youth Vote (Wall Street Journal, 2 May 2012)

Young People May Not Bother to Vote for Obama (ABC News, 26 April 2012)

The Young and the Restless: Can Obama Recharge the Youth Vote? (ABC News, 24 April 2012)


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“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