Estimated 24 Million Young People Voted in 2016 Election

Posted by Tufts University on December 12, 2016

An Estimated 24 Million Young People Voted in 2016 Election

The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE)—the preeminent youth research organization at Tufts University—recently morning released an analysis of 2016 exit poll data in historical context. As in the poll that we conducted before the election, we continue to see big differences among young people depending on their race and ethnicity.

This is part of a continued series by CIRCLE of national electoral results. Stay tuned for more demographic analysis for the presidential election and down-ballot races.

Youth presidential Vote Choice
Our pre-election poll of Millennials ages 18-34 had Clinton 49% vs. Trump 28%, a 21-point preference for the Democratic candidate. The National Exit Poll suggests that the actual split in the election was 55% for Clinton to 37% for Trump (an 18-point gap) among youth aged 18-29.

Throughout the election season, our analysis has emphasized the demographic and ideological heterogeneity of Millennials, contradicting facile generalizations that characterize them as the “Obama generation.” In particular, there are regularly stark differences in ideology and issue positions among Millennials of different races, genders, and socioeconomic status.

Nationally, compared to 2012, youth support for Republicans remained relatively constant among Whites (-3 points), African Americans (+1 point), and Latinos (+1 point). The national exit poll suggests that there were more youth in 2016 who supported a third-party candidate, did not vote for a presidential candidate, or specifically chose not to answer this poll question. White youth have been markedly less likely than youth of color to support Democratic candidates. This year, 43% of young Whites voted for Clinton, while Black youth supported her by almost double that margin (83%). However, it’s worth noting that young African Americans were notably less likely to support Clinton in 2016 (83%) than Obama in 2012 (91%).

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