Sanders dominates the Iowa youth vote

Below is CIRCLE’s press release from this morning. Additional data can be found on the website.

Young Democrats Propel Sanders to Virtual Tie in Iowa; Record-breaking Participation Among Young Republicans, who Choose Cruz, Rubio Over Trump

Medford/Somerville, MA – Youth turnout in last night’s Iowa caucuses is estimated to be 11 percent, according to youth vote experts from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) – the preeminent, non-partisan research center on youth engagement at Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service.

Highlights of the youth vote in Iowa include:

  • An estimated 11.2% of eligible Iowan youth aged 17 to 29 participated in last night’s Republican and Democratic caucuses.
  • On the Democratic side, the youth choice was decisive. Of the estimated 31,000 young people who participated in the Democratic caucus, 84% supported Senator Bernie Sanders, contributing to a virtual tie between Secretary Hillary Clinton and Senator Sanders.
  • Young Republicans selected Senator Ted Cruz as their top candidate (with 26%), closely followed by Senator Marco Rubio (23%). Youth support for Donald Trump, which came in at approximately 20%, trailed the support he received among older Republicans.
  • Since 1996, youth turnout in Iowa has exceeded 4% only twice: in 2008 (14%) and yesterday (11.2%).
  • A record-breaking 22,000 young people voted in the Republican caucus.
  • About 31,000 young people participated in the Democratic caucus, the second highest level since 1996 (behind 2008).

“Last night’s Iowa caucuses demonstrated the potential power of young people to shape elections,” said Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, Director of CIRCLE. “In the Democratic caucus, young voters helped to propel Senator Sanders to a virtual tie, and Republican youth broke their own record of caucus participation. One message is clear: when candidates and campaigns ask young people to participate and inspire them to get involved, they respond.”

For CIRCLE’s full Iowa caucus analysis, please see here. Throughout this election season, CIRCLE’s 2016 Election Center will offer new data products and analyses – such as a preview of youth participation in the NH primary – providing a comprehensive picture of the youth vote, both nationally and in targeted states and congressional districts across the country. You can view trend data on youth turnout via CIRCLE’s interactive maps.

About Peter

Associate Dean for Research and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Tufts University's Tisch College of Civic Life. Concerned about civic education, civic engagement, and democratic reform in the United States and elsewhere.
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