October 19, 2010

Enthusiasm Gap: Young Voters Lag

22 points

Voters ages 30 and older are far more engaged in the 2010 midterm elections than are younger voters.

Younger adults are always less excited and involved in elections than are older adults, but this year the gap between the young and old is especially great. In 2006, during the last off-year elections, half of voters ages 30 and older had given a lot of thought to the election while just 39% of voters younger than age 30 had, an 11-point gap. This cycle, the enthusiasm gap has doubled to 22 points: 53% of voters ages 30 and older have given a lot of thought to the election while just 31% of young voters say the same. Younger voters are also less likely to say they are definitely likely to vote in this election than they were in 2006, while voters age 30 and older are more likely to say so than in 2006. This has created a 31-point gap on this key measure of voter enthusiasm among the age groups, up from 23 points in 2006. There is a noticeable partisan difference on these questions, as Democrats of all ages are far less engaged in this year’s election than they were in 2006. For example, nearly half of all voters younger than age 30 who identified or leaned to the Democratic Party were giving a lot of thought to the 2006 election. This year, just 27% of these voters are highly engaged with the midterm elections. Read More