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Youth Turnout in Iowa More Than Triples, Youth Decide Caucus Winners

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Message Ellynne Bannon

For more information: Ellynne Bannon, 202-458-7635, ebannon@studentpirgs.org

Youth Turnout in Iowa More Than Triples, Youth Decide Caucus Winners

The Youth Vote in New Hampshire and Beyond

According to a new analysis youth turnout in Iowa (17-29 year olds) more than tripled over 2004, with 65,000 young people turning out to caucus. The youth vote also decided the caucus winners. Fifty-seven percent of youth voted for Democratic winner Barack Obama, while 40 percent voted for Republican winner Mike Huckabee. Iowa PIRG students were critical in boosting the youth vote, personally contacting and turning out thousands of youth in the final days leading up to the caucuses.

The youth vote surge in Iowa continues the trend from the recent election cycles. In 2004, the youth vote increase by 4.3 million votes and more young people voted than those over the age of 65. In 2006, the youth vote increase by 2 million votes, almost twice the increase of the overall electorate.

Looking to New Hampshire, and Beyond

1. The youth vote continues to post big increases. In 2004, the youth vote in New Hampshire was the highest in more than a decade, and at 58 percent voter turnout, it was up 12 points over 2000 turnout.

2. Recent surges in youth voting aren’t a fluke. Research and practice show that non-partisan (i.e. Student PIRGs) personalized, peer to peer youth voter outreach turns out young voters. Young people contacted by the Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project in 2004 were 13% more likely to turn out to the polls on Election Day, than a group of demographically similar individuals who also registered to vote within six months of the election. We also know that when candidates reach out to, and target young voters – often and on the issues that youth care most about – that they turn out in bigger numbers.

3. Young people are engaged. As part of the Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project What’s Your Plan? campaign hundreds of students across the country have hit the campaign trail to ask all of the candidates what their plans are on key youth issues, such as global warming and college affordability. So far, nearly 400 students have had more than 100 face to face conversations - across the country - with all of the candidates to ask them: What’s Your Plan? And the candidates recognize us, calling on us at events and highlighting our work.

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Ellynne Bannon is the director of Student PIRGs' New Voters Project.
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