Blue wave? Red wave? Tsunami or mere ripple? With only hours to go before Tuesday’s Mid-Term elections the outcome is anyone’s guess. There are almost as many “answers” as there are pundits prognosticating.
One of the major unknowns is the wild card labeled “the Youth Vote.” I say “wild card” because of this group’s historically lousy turnout in elections. Conventional wisdom holds that turnout for this 18–29-year-old age group is poor. This year may prove a surprise sleeper.
Generally, the Agitator focuses on fundraising where the demographic factor of age makes little or no difference –contrary to conventional assumptions. (See our post The Weak-Minded Nonsense of Generational Marketing).
However, these days with organizations like Gen-Z for Change a network of over 500 politically-engaged creators on TikTok (also on YouTube and the Web) who boast a combined half a billion followers Agitator readers engaged in advocacy and political fundraising need to have the younger age group on their radar screens.
If you’d like a flavor of social media appeals to the youth vote check out this video from Politics Girl now playing on her YouTube channel where she has 50,000 and also on her TikTok with 425,000 followers:
Back to the mid-term elections and the latest polling on the youth vote.
A national poll released October 27th by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School indicates that 40% of 18-to-29-year-olds state that they will “definitely” vote in the November 8 midterm elections. on track to match or potentially exceed the record-breaking 2018 youth turnout in a midterm election. Young voters prefer Democratic control of Congress 57% to 31% (up five points for Democrats since spring), but 12% remain undecided.
“Battleground state polling is far from settled, I’m not sure if we will see a Red Wave or Blue Wave on November 8 – but we will see a Gen Z Wave,” said Institute of Politics Polling Director John Della Volpe. “Youth today vote at levels that far exceed millennials, Gen X, and baby boomers when they were under 30. Inspired by the Parkland students in 2018, sparked by fear about their future, the future of our country, and planet, Gen Z is ushering in a new era of sustained political engagement.”
Here’s a 3-minute video summary of the Harvard poll
In an MSNBC interview Della Volpe claims this group is largely unaccounted for in most conventional polls and there could be an unanticipated Gen Z turnout wave on Tuesday.
Of note in the Harvard poll is that 57% of likely voters in this age group prefer Democrats. That’s up five points since the Spring edition of the Harvard poll.
For young men their top issue interest, just like everyone else, is inflation and the cost of living. But their second, third, fourth and fifth most important issues include abortion, protection of democracy, climate change, gun violence prevention and gun control.
For young women the top drivers are defense of abortion rights, inflation, climate change, gun control and protecting democracy.
Similar to the Harvard poll in audience polled, but with focus on the battleground states , on October 14, a poll conducted for Ms. magazine and Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) by Lake Research Partners across Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin indicated among young women voters ages 18-29 in the battleground states, abortion and women’s rights are the most important and highly motivating issues in determining their vote.
“Despite constant reports in the media on inflation and rising prices as the top issues in this election, abortion and women’s rights are actually the most important for young women as they head to the ballot box,” said Katherine Spillar, executive editor of Ms.
We’ll see how all these insights into the youth vote turns out in just a few hours or over the coming days depending on the speed of the vote count.
Meanwhile, regardless of your age or gender please VOTE.
P.S. While we’re on the subject of the election and for those political and data junkies among Agitator readers who’re chewing their nails over public opinion polls, here’s a helpful piece from Harvard’s Kennedy School on The margin of error: 7 tips for journalists covering polls and surveys.