Assessing the presidential results in Iowa and New Hampshire, Democratic leaders see signs that young voters are flocking to their party and away from the Republicans. Of the 65,230 young people ages 17 to 29 who participated in the Iowa caucuses January 3, 52,580 caucused for Democrats while only 12,650 caucused for the Republicans.
That's a more than 4-to-1 advantage for the Democrats, party leaders point out.
"In total, 22 percent of Democratic caucusgoers were young people, an increase from 17 percent in 2004 and 9 percent in 2000," according to a study of the recent balloting by the Democratic National Committee provided to U.S. News. "In contrast, only 11 percent of the Republican caucusgoers were young people." In New Hampshire, the Democratic analysis shows, youth turnout "surged to 37 percent this year, from 18 percent in 2004 and 28 percent in 2000," says the study.
"Sixty-one percent of youth voters supported Democrats over Republicans. That's 43,753 young people going for Democrats and only 28,288 young people going for Republicans." Of course, the results had a lot to do with the presidential candidates and public perceptions of them. For example, Democrat Barack Obama inspired special enthusiasm among young voters. If he loses the nomination, it's possible that the enthusiasm will decline. It's also possible, Republican strategists say, that the eventual GOP nominee will find a way to motivate young people by next fall's election.
—Kenneth T. Walsh