Young Voters Poised and Determined to Help Shape America’s Political Future

Jul 31, 2018 | Politics

S.E. Williams

Sixty-one percent of all newly registered voters are between the ages of 18 and 29 years. TargetSmart, a data, technology and consulting firm that provides analysis to political candidates and their campaigns has released a national assessment showingregistration among those in this demographic has increased significantly over the last seven months—particularly in battleground states.

Analysts believe this could be a strong indicator of the potential impact young voters could have on the upcoming midterm and presidential elections.

TargetSmart used February 14, the date of the Parkland, Florida high school massacre, as a reference point. Readers may recall how that incident, led by calls from its survivors, sparked a national movement to register young voters in a push for common sense gun control. Since that day, the share of youth registrants nationwide has increased by 2.16 percent. Experts belief this is an early, quantitative indication that voter turnout among young people “is on the rise in this year’s midterm elections.”

The analysis showed California has out-paced the nation-wide average increase in this regard with a 3.37 percent increase in voter registration among those 18 to 29 years of age.

Beyond the blue state of California, state-by-state analysis showed that younger voters are poised to have an outsized impact in key battleground races for U.S. Senator, Governor, and many high-profile House races. For example, Pennsylvania saw registration surge by over 16 points among young voters after February 14, jumping from 45.2 percent to 61.4 percent of new registrants.

Other battleground states also experienced significant increases in youth registration, including Arizona (+ 8.2 percent), Florida (+8 percent), Virginia (+10.5 percent), Indiana (+9.9 percent), and New York (+10.7 percent).

Experts see a clear correlation between increased voter registration in this demographic and issues related gun violence. A poll conducted by theHarvard University’s Institute of Politicsfollowing the Parkland shooting reported 64 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 29 years favored common sense gun reforms—something that the current Republican congressional leadership has continued to oppose.

TargetSmart’s analyzed voter registration data from 40 states where the official voter rolls have been updated since February 14. In each of those states they calculated the share of new registrants, 29 years of age or younger, who registered to vote in the period before the Parkland shooting to the share who registered to vote in the same time-period after the shooting.



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