It is no wonder Ron Paul walked away from Super Tuesday without winning a single state. It appears his droves of youth supporters stayed home. [See pictures of Super Tuesday voters heading to the polls.]
Before Super Tuesday, Ron Paul was attracting more young voters than any of his competitors. He won the youth vote in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina. Nevada and even Mitt Romney's home state of Michigan.
A study released Wednesday shows in five Super Tuesday states, Ron Paul attracted no more of the youth support than Rick Santorum or Mitt Romney.[See why running for president is a smart career move.]
Accoring to Tufts Unversity's Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), Paul received 88,000 youth votes in Massachusetts, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia, tying him with former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. Romney came in third with 86,000 votes, while Newt Gingrich garnered 43,000 youth votes.
Super Tuesday confirmed what GOP leaders have feared all along: young voters are apathetic about the GOP. On average, only 5 percent of voters who are 30 and younger showed up to the polls on Super Tuesday.
"So far, the Republican primary shows a strikingly even race for the youth vote, with no candidate really winning the young Republicans' allegiance," said CIRCLE director Peter Levine. "The results so far suggest that Republicans have some work to do to build youth support."
CIRCLE estimates that in the states that have tracked youth voters, Mitt Romney has attracted the most support with 201,000 votes. Ron Paul follows closely with 200,000 votes. Rick Santorum has earned 162,000 votes and Newt Gingrich finishes fourth with 87,000 youth votes. At this time in 2008, Obama had attracted six times as many votes from young people as any of the GOP contestants.
See a full analysis of how each candidate did in Super Tuesday States of Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia and Vermont below.
Youth voter turnout in the Georgia Republican primary was 5 percent, with just over 70,000 young people voting on Super Tuesday. 31 percent of youth who voted in Georgia chose Newt Gingrich, while 24 percent chose Ron Paul while Romney and Santorum both captured 22 percent of the youth vote.
Roughly 29,000 young people participated in the Massachusetts Republican primary, making up 3 percent of youth in the state. Half of young people who voted did so for Romney, which represented the least support among any age group in Massachusetts.
While the Republican primary in Ohio was highly contested, youth turnout was far below the 2008 primary turnout. Seven percent of Ohio's youth turned out to vote in the Republican primary, compared to 25 percent in 2008, when there was both a contested Democratic and Republican primary. Roughly 131,000 young people voted Tuesday, with 37 percent choosing Santorum, 28 percent choosing Romney and 25 percent choosing Paul.
About 26,000 young people voted in the Republican primary in Oklahoma, which is 5 percent of the state's youth. There were not enough youth in the exit poll sample to report young people's vote choice.
Santorum received his strongest youth support in Tennessee, receiving 43 percent of the vote from those youth who participated yesterday. About 44,000 youth voted in the Republican primary, representing 5 percent of the state's youth.
About 4,000 young people voted in yesterday's Republican primary in Vermont, which is 4 percent of the state's youth. There were not enough youth in the exit poll sample to report young people's vote choice.
While Mitt Romney took 60 percent of the overall vote in Virginia, he only received 39 percent of the youth vote in the Virginia primary. Ron Paul won 61 percent of young people's vote in the state. (Paul and Romney were the only candidates to meet requirements to be listed on the Virginia GOP primary ballot.) Only 2 percent of young people in Virginia voted, about 32,000 people.
Similar data was not availaable for Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota and Wyoming.