Poll: 77 percent of young voters say they will turn out for midterms

A new poll released by Rock the Vote on Wednesday showed that in spite of growing cynicism among young voters, 77 percent are planning to go to the polls in November.

Pollsters attribute this enthusiasm from the group's overwhelming confidence (83 percent) that their generation can successfully reform the country, even though 59 percent say they are more cynical about politics than they were in 2008.

Looking toward the midterms, a majority of voters are paying close attention to the races. In spite of some growth in the GOP's overall favorability, President Obama has maintained his appeal among young voters, with half saying that his endorsement would make them more likely to support a candidate. Only 26 percent said the same about former Alaska Gov. and 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin (R).

On individual issues, young people are most concerned about unemployment (96 percent), the national debt (93 percent) and the influence of special interests on politics (86 percent).

Observers note that the data reveal opportunities for all candidates to make inroads with younger voters.

"The top concerns of these voters are the same pocketbook issues that are the focus of nearly every Republican candidate in the country," says conservative pollster Brian Nienaber, who worked on the survey. "Thoughtful messaging and appropriate targeting could yield a significant level of support with these voters."

Progressive pollster John Anzalone, who also worked on the survey, said the same was true for Democrats.

"Since moderates and independents are leaning Republican going into the November midterms, Democrats should appeal once again to the young people ages 18 to 29, who have not given up on them since the 2008 election," he said. "Candidates who neglect young people are taking a major risk, as they will be the swing group for either party in 2010."

The margin of error for the results is +/- 3.7 points.