Young voters came out to vote in this year’s midterm elections in the second largest percentage in at least thirty years.
The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University released an early estimate showing that around 27% of people ages 18 to 29 voted in 2022. They also believe the number of young people voting was even greater in some states that had major elections.
Around 20% of young people typically came out to vote in elections since the 1990s, but in 2018, that changed. Four years ago, around 31% of eligible young voters in that age range voted.
According to NPR, deputy director of CIRCLE Abby Kiesa said Thursday that 2018 is still “a high-water mark” for young people voting in midterm elections going to back to at least the 1970s.
According to Pew Research, around 47.5% of people who are old enough to vote came out to cast their ballots in the 2018 midterm elections. Fair Vote noted that U.S. voter turnout is typically around 40% for midterm elections.
Kiesa added that young people voted even more in battleground states. Florida, Michigan, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania saw around 31% aggregate young voter turnout, according to CIRCLE researchers who used available data from exit polls.
CIRCLE’s report also pointed out that young people voted for Democrats more than they voted for Republicans. The Edison Research National Election Poll exit poll showed that the youth vote selection across the country was 63% in favor of Democrats and 35% in favor of Republicans for the U.S. House of Representatives. The number is similar to 2020, when young people favored Democrats at 62% to Republicans at 36%, but down from 2018. In 2018, young people favored Democrats at 67% compared to 32% for Republicans.
In major races, such as the Pennsylvania Senate race, young voters favored Democratic candidate John Fetterman at 70% to 28%, and Fetterman was declared the winner.
Democratic Governor Tony Evers won the Wisconsin gubernatorial race, with young people voting in favor of Evers at 70% to 30%.
“Young people stood along in supporting, decisively, a Democratic statewide race candidate,” Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, the director of CIRCLE, said. “The result is that [young people] kept the races really close and in some cases we think they will decide the outcome of the race.”
However, some Republican victories in major races also saw support from young people, although none reached the majority of the young vote.
The Florida Senate race and the Ohio Senate race both had 40% support for Republicans from young people, and the Republican candidates won in both of those races. The North Carolina Senate race saw 44% support, the Texas Governor election had 33%, and the Wisconsin Senate had 31%, which all had Republican success as well. The Michigan governor race saw 36% support for Republicans, but Democratic Candidate Gretchen Whitmer won that race.