young voters in Iowa

We’re working on a press release to report that young people (ages 18-29) quadrupled their turnout in the Iowa Caucuses, compared to 2000. They voted at considerably higher rates than the 30-44 age group and represened almost as big a proportion of Caucus goers (17%) as of adult Iowa citizens (20%). If youth always participated at this rate, the 40 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 30 would be a major voting bloc.

There’s another lesson for those of us who are interested in youth participation: young people may vote, but they aren’t predictable. Slate quotes one Dean precinct captain who said, “I think if we could blame [Dean’s loss] on anyone, blame it on the 18- to 25-year-olds, because they were nonexistent.” Actually, they existed, and they turned out, but 35% of them went for Kerry and only 25% for Dean.