Analysis: Youth voter turnout increased across the board in 2018

Turnout among voters aged 18 to 29 increased in the 2018 midterms in 34 states, according to newly available data.

Youth voter turnout increased by at least 7 percent in 32 of the 34 states and at least 10 percent in 27 of the states compared to the 2014 cycle, according to an analysis from Tufts University’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE).

The study reflects the power of younger voters in a midterm year that saw the Democrats take control of the House and minimize losses in a difficult Senate map. 

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“These findings—including double-digit percentage point increases in turnout in many states—confirm the power of the youth vote in the 2018 midterms,” Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, CIRCLE director, said in a press release.

“We believe that outreach by campaigns, and especially by peers in youth-centered and youth-led movements, contributed to this nationwide phenomenon,” she added. “These findings should encourage a wide range of stakeholders – political parties, candidates, educators, and youth-serving organizations – to undertake the ongoing work necessary to sustain and build on this momentous year.”

The rise in turnout among youth voters was notable in several presidential swing states, marking an opportunity for both parties to tailor their turnout efforts to boost their chances to win their electoral votes.

Voter turnout among 18 to 29-year-olds rose over 13 percent in Florida, over 17 percent in Michigan and nearly 18 percent in Pennsylvania, states that heavily contributed to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump watching 'very closely' as Portland braces for dueling protests WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Are Democrats turning Trump-like? MORE’s 2016 victory over Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonAre Democrats turning Trump-like? The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy MORE.

Youth voter turnout also tripled in Texas and more than doubled in Georgia, two Sun Belt states with rapidly changing demographics in which Democrats hope to make inroads in 2020.