Photo: Minority voters
The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE), Tufts University’s preeminent youth research organization, released a groundbreaking poll of young people’s views of the election. The survey, commissioned by the Youth Education Fund, is unique in that it polled 1,695 youth (ages 18-29) in June/July and 1,109 of the same youth between October 12 and 23. Surveying the same people twice provides powerful evidence of change over time.
Detailed findings of the poll by race and ethnicity can be found here, and includes:
Candidate and Campaign Support
Nearly 3/4 of Black youth say it is very likely or extremely likely they will vote in the 2012 Presidential Election, compared to 68.7% of White youth and 56.6% of Hispanic young people. Similar to CIRCLE’s July poll, there were large variations in candidate support by race and ethnicity. Hispanic youth who are registered and extremely likely voters, were swing voters in June/July but have largely made up their minds.
Since July, President Obama has gained support from registered, extremely likely young voters, but to a lesser extent from White youth compared to Latino or African American young people. Between June/July and October, Romney has lost both African American voters (5 percentage point loss), and even more so, Hispanic voters (17 percentage point loss). President Obama gained support (14 percentage points) from young Hispanics since July.
Young people, regardless of race and ethnicity, were most likely to say they had been paying “some” attention to the upcoming election than they were in June/July. Black and White youth are the most likely to say they pay “some or a lot of attention” to the news (72.9% and 72.4%, respectively), while 66.8% of Hispanic youth said the same. However, there is a strong core of Hispanic youth who follow the election with 27.7% paying “a lot” of attention (compared to White youth (23.4%) and Black youth (19.4%)).
Hispanic youth were slightly more likely to say that they had been contacted by a campaign (18.0%) compared to White and Black youth (14.5% vs 15.6%, respectively). White, Black and Hispanic youth who were contacted were more likely to have been contacted on behalf of Obama’s campaign (51.5% White, 95.8% of Black youth and 53.1% of Hispanic youth). Black Youth who were contacted were overwhelmingly reached on behalf of the Obama campaign, whereas White and Hispanic youth were equally contacted by both campaigns.
Issues and Institutional Support
As in the July poll, there continued to be a racial gap in which subgroups of youth feel that the country is moving in the right direction. Fifty-nine percent of Black youth said that the country is moving in the right direction (this is an increase from the 49.8% in the July poll), whereas 23.6% of White youth said the country is moving in the right direction (17.6% in the July poll). Hispanic youth were the most likely to be unsure about the direction of the country (41.1%).
As in our July poll, “jobs and the economy” was as the number-one issue that both Black and White youth felt politicians should address (43.2% and 37.7% respectively); however, the second most important issue for Black youth was health care (18.1%) and for White youth it was the federal budget deficit (11.6%). For Hispanic youth, jobs and the economy was still the number-one issue (28.4%), but the second most important issue for politicians to address was gas prices (11.2%).
Voter ID Laws
White youth were more likely to know the photo ID laws in their state (36.0%) than Black youth (28.8%) or Hispanic youth (20.9%). Both Black young people (60.5%) and Hispanic young people (53.9%) were more likely to identify early voting laws than White youth (48.3%). Black youth were more likely (21.3%) to know the registration deadline in their state than White youth (11.9%) or Hispanic youth (11.7%)