One in 4 young adults definitely plans to vote in the midterm elections, according to a new survey that highlights the drop-off in the youth vote during non-presidential years.
Twenty-eight percent of people aged 18–31 said they would definitely vote in the 2014 midterm elections, according to a survey conducted by Democratic pollster Harstad Strategic Research for the groups Project New America and the Youth Engagement Fund.
On the other hand, 55 percent said they would definitely vote in the 2016 presidential race, more than two years away, a difference of 17 percentage points.
The results reflect past exit polls and other recent surveys. While voters aged 18–29 made up 18–19 percent of the electorate in 2008 and 2012, they made up 11 percent of the total in the 2010 midterms.
The drop-off rate has the largest effect on Democrats, whom young people support overwhelmingly. Sixty percent voted for President Obama in 2012, according to exit polls. During fundraisers around the country, Obama has continuously lamented the drop-off in Democratic constituencies during midterm election years.
Young adults said they would most be persuaded to vote for a member of Congress if that candidate shared their views on student loans. The poll tested the question by asking people how persuadable certain positions would be in determining their vote on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being extremely persuasive.
Fifty-nine percent picked a number from seven to 10 when asked about the issue of student loans.
Others issues that ranked high on the list included background checks for gun owners, investment in jobs and creating economic opportunity.
The healthcare reform law and combating gridlock in Washington rated lowest on a list of 13 issues that could potentially persuade young voters.
Forty-four percent of those surveyed said they identify with the Democratic Party, while 26 percent identify more with the GOP. Nineteen percent identify with no party, while 11 named a third party.
Seventy percent said they were currently registered to vote.
Young people rate their biggest concern as finding a good job. Thirty-nine percent said they believe they will be better off than their parents, while 21 percent said they would be worse off. Four in 10 predicted they would be about the same.
While 87 percent agree with the statement "it's up to me if I succeed or fail," 71 percent also think the system is rigged in favor of the rich.
The poll surveyed 2,004 people aged 18–31 from March 30 to April 4 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.