Increase In Young Voters Has Democrats Excited About 2008
Two million more people under the age of 30 voted in the midterm elections than in 2002, according to an analysis by the University of Maryland's Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement.
Exit poll data from the elections suggested that the increase in youth turnout aided Democrats in capturing control of Congress. In House races, young people formed the most supportive age group, with 61 percent voting Democratic.
By comparison, the 18-to-29 age group voted Democratic 55 percent of the time in 2004, and roughly 50 percent of the time in 2002, according to exit polling at the time.
Democrats hope this is the latest sign of a new wave of Democratic voters. In 2004, young-voter turnout substantially increased, and the 18-to-29 age group strongly supported the presidential candidacy of Sen. John Kerry (D-MA).
The X factor, though, is whether more young people are voting -- and voting Democratic -- because they are reacting to the increasingly unpopular Iraq War, or whether there are other issues at play, such as the desire to see an increase in the minimum wage or less corporate-friendly federal environmental policies.
We may know more in 2008.
"We're very excited about this," Jane Fleming, executive director of the Young Democrats of America, told the Washington Post. Fleming suggested, however, that 2008 "will be the real test."