Campaign Rallies Often Focus on College Campuses

Even Though 40% of Young People Have No College Experience. Obama Campaign is Reaching 3x More College-Educated Youth, but Romney Contacting More Non-College Youth as Election Enters Final Days.


MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. – With only five days left to go in this year’s 2012 presidential election season, The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE), based at Tufts University, continues to release analysis from a poll from earlier this week.  The current analysis, released today, offers a more comprehensive look at young voters based on their educational experience.

Today’s analysis shows that young adults who have never attended college continue to be ignored by campaigns even though they represent about 40% of all young people and they prefer Obama versus Romney at about the same rate as college-educated youth.

CIRCLE’s survey of young people’s views of candidates and issues and their understanding of the voting process was commissioned by the Youth Education Fund (YEF). It is unique in that it polled 1,695 youth (ages 18-29) in June-July and 1,109 of those exact same youth between October 12-23, 2012. Surveying the same people twice provides powerful evidence of change over time.

An in-depth analysis of the poll’s findings, broken out by educational experience, can be found here.  Some of the highlights from the poll’s analysis, include:

Non-college youth have been less likely to be contacted on behalf of a campaign;

The Romney campaign and its supporters appear to have contacted more non-college youth, whereas youth with college backgrounds were about three times more likely to have been contacted on behalf of Obama;

Young adults did not differ much by education in their preference for President Obama or former Governor Romney;

Youth with college experience were more likely to feel that the country is moving in the right direction (34.7%) compared to youth without college experience (26.7%).

Additionally, youth with college experience were more likely than youth without college experience to correctly identify the photo ID laws and the early voting laws in their states.

“A common misperception is young voters are synonymous with college students,” said Peter Levine, director of CIRCLE.  “With 46 million young people eligible to vote in the 2012 election, roughly 40% of those, or about 18 million people, have never been to college. These millions of voters are too often neglected by candidates, parties, and the press.”

Below, is a comprehensive list (with links) to the youth polling data and analysis that has been released by CIRCLE throughout this week:

MONDAY: Young Voters & the Horserace: 52.1% Obama v. 35.1% Romney

TUESDAY: Youth Knowledge about Voter Laws Still Lacking.               

WEDNESDAY:  Youth poll data analysis by race and ethnicity.           

TOMORROW: Infographic illustrating salient findings of July and October polls

Toplines from the October poll can be found here.  Topline comparisons of questions asked in both the June / July and October polls can be found here.

GfK Knowledge Networks administers nationally representative surveys built on a standing panel of randomly sampled English- and Spanish-speaking households.Recruited households are given Internet access if needed. The second wave of the survey, presented here, was administered to 1,109 respondents–US citizens between the ages of 18 and 29, between October 12 and October 23, 2012. All those respondents had also been surveyed in a first wave fielded between June 22 and July 2, 2012, with a sample of 1,695. Blacks, Latinos, and individuals who have never attended college were oversampled, and unless stated otherwise results are nationally representative statistics. The survey was conducted in English and Spanish. Margin of error was calculated at +/- 4.2%.


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