How College Students Spent Election Day

The youth vote played an influential role in the presidential election.

By + More

The presidential campaigns are over, political ads no longer lead each commercial break, and Election Day 2012 has come and gone with one candidate standing: President Barack Obama has been re-elected for a second term.

While the youth vote—which includes voters between the ages of 18 and 29 years old—made up a large piece of the voting pie in 2008, these voters comprised 19 percent of the electorate in 2012, up 1 percent from 2008.

The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), an independent youth research organization based at Tufts University, announced today that roughly 22 to 23 million youth voters, or at least 49 percent of all Americans in this age group, voted in the presidential election, based on results from national exit polls, demographic data, and current counts of votes cast.

"Young people are energized and committed voters," said Peter Levine, director of CIRCLE, in a press release. "Youth turnout of around 50 [percent] is the 'new normal' for presidential elections. Considering that there are 46 million people between 18 and 29, this level of turnout makes them an essential political bloc."

[See where 2012 presidential candidates received their educations.]

Obama won the majority of votes among youth voters—receiving 60 percent of the votes, compared to Governor Mitt Romney's 36 percent, according to the national exit polls conducted by Edison Research.

"The role young people would play during this election has been a major question in American politics for over a year, and it seems the answer is that they have been as big a force at the polls in 2012 as in 2008," Levine noted.

Check out images below from Election Day at college campuses across the country.

Searching for a college? Get our complete rankings of Best Colleges.