The Youth and Elections in 2012
I think that the participation of college students (the youth vote) had a significant impact on the outcome of the election in 2012. The youth vote was instrumental in the reelection of Barrack Obama, allowing him to beat his Republican rival. People aged 18-29 represented almost a fifth (19%) of the total vote in the election. The eventual winner of the election, Obama, captured three-fifths (60%) of this vote, compared with his Republican rival’s 36% (Kingkade para.1-2). Despite fears of a lack of enthusiasm among college students in the election, especially based on the findings of polls that few youths planned to vote in the election, the outcome of the election demonstrated that the youth vote was a huge force. Analysts observed that while the proportion of young people (18-29-year olds) who voted for Obama declined by 6 percentage points to 60% in 2012 compared with 2008, the youth vote for the eventual winner was still the highest that any presidential candidate from the Democratic Party had scored in three decades (Kingkade para.4-5).
Youths, as a segment of the population, are likely to remain highly influential in future elections. 18-29-year olds represent one of the most energetic and dynamic age groups in the population. Spillane (para.2) observes that the youths represent the largest and most diverse segment of the national population in the U.S., making up over 90m and outnumbering the baby boomers. Youths have typically demonstrated frustration with the political process in the past, resulting in their tendency to avoid participating in the electoral process (Spillane para.3-5). Nonetheless, as the elections of 2008 and 2012 illustrated, the potential of the youth vote in elections remains strong, especially with increasing political awareness and interest and the success of campaigns aimed at promoting youths’ participation in elections.
Kingkade, Tyler. “Youth Vote 2012 Turnout: Exit Polls show Greater Share of Electorate than in 2008”. The Huffington Post, November 7 2012.
Spillane, Ashley. “The State of the Youth Vote in America”. MSNBC, January 20, 2015.