Data Show Youth Voting Patterns Varied Widely by Race & Gender

“Diverse Electorate: A Deeper Look into the Millennial Vote”

98% of Young Black Women, 41% of Young White Men Voted for Obama

Most Young White Men Either Dissatisfied or Angry with Obama

Young Hispanic Women Voters the Most Liberal of All Groups


Medford/Somerville, Mass. –  Following last week’s snapshot analysis of the role young voters played in last Tuesday’s presidential election, the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) – the preeminent youth research organization at Tufts University – announced this week that they will be releasing a series of post-election fact sheets on the 23 million young voters who turned out to vote last week.  In addition to providing key comparative analysis to 2008’s historic youth turnout, the fact sheets are based mostly upon the national exit poll conducted by Edison Research and contain a wealth of data CIRCLE has analyzed on demographic, key issue and vote choice questions.  

Today CIRCLE is releasing the second in this series of three fact sheets. Today’s fact sheet, titled “Diverse Electorate:  A Deeper Look into the Millennial Vote,” analyzes the 23 million youth voters by race and gender, along with the breakdowns for candidate support, issues of importance, party support, etc. In addition to detailed narrative analysis and many charts and tables, the major findings highlighted in the fact sheet include:

Young Black and Hispanic women provided the strongest support for President Obama. A majority admired him, much as they did in 2008.

Young Hispanic women voters were the most liberal of all groups. Compared to older Hispanic voters, they were more liberal and less likely to be religious.

Women voters were more liberal and supportive of President Obama than their male counterparts of the same race/ethnicity. Women also considered President Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy an important factor in deciding their votes.

Young White women, the most influential youth constituency because of their size and turnout, were split in half on many issues that challenge our nation, including their choice for president, their view of the government, and abortion.

Young White men, as a group, held a quite different view of the President, the role of the government, and how to move forward with immigration reform than all the other groups. They were unhappy with the way the economy was, and wanted Governor Romney to improve the economy.

Young Hispanic men cast 9% of the youth vote, up from 6% in 2008. Among the minority groups, they were most likely to affiliate with the Republican party or consider themselves independents, but two-thirds of them voted for President Obama.

Young Black men voters were somewhat more conservative and younger in 2012 than in 2008. Young Black men voters were less excited about President Obama than Black women voters in 2008, and the voters in 2012 were more likely to identify as Republicans and Independents than they did in 2008. Although a majority of Black men voters supported President Obama again, a larger portion of them voted for the Republican candidate this year than the same group did in 2008.

Young White women’s influence in the youth electorate has decreased since 2008, while Hispanic influence has increased: 42% of young voters were persons of color – and for the first time, the Hispanic vote share surpassed the Black vote share. In 2008, the Hispanic youth vote was 14% of the youth electorate. This year, it increased to 18%. Asian-American voters now represented five percent of the youth vote.

Male voters were generally more conservative and less supportive of President Obama. Among male voters, the most notable trend was a decrease in support for President Obama among young Black men since 2008.

Young voters were generally supportive of abortion and same-sex marriage regardless of gender and race.

President Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy won back youth support, especially from young women of color.

To view the full “Diverse Electorate:  A Deeper Look into the Millennial Vote” fact sheet, go here:

Tomorrow, Thursday, November 15th, CIRCLE will release another fact sheet – “Young Voters in the 2012 Presidential Election:  The Educational Gap Remains” – that will focus on using the exit poll data and CIRCLE’s scientific analysis to dispel the commonly held belief that young voters are synonymous with “college voters”.  

Yesterday, CIRCLE released an introductory “Overview of Young Voters in the 2012 Election” Fact Sheet that provides a comprehensive understanding of the 50% of eligible young voters who showed up in on Election Day – just slightly down from the recent high of 52% in 2008.  To view yesterday’s fact sheet, the first in this week’s series of three youth voter fact sheets providing in-depth exit poll-driven analysis from this year’s presidential election, go to:


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