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March 4 Primaries: Young Voters Smackdown the Vote | The Nation

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March 4 Primaries: Young Voters Smackdown the Vote

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Ally Klimkoski

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“We are in the classic fog of war,” says Stephen Cohen.

March 5, 2008

First, let me just say that I told you McCain would win. And Mike Huckabee conceded with a lovely speech about a pitcher that is always waiting and ready in the event the other pitcher can't make it. Media folks are speculating if this is Huck making a comment about being VP? I think that this was actually a comment about Mike Huckabee's new career in baseball.

Last night's primary and caucuses brought another opportunity for us to measure the successes of the youth vote. All of the following are for 17-29 year olds and can be found by combing through the CNN Exit polls.

Ohio:

Turnout was 25% that is up from 15% in 2000 (says CIRCLE)

16% of the overall youth vote for Democrats

The only age group to give Obama a margin of victory in Ohio

13% of overall vote for Republicans

277,045 young Democrats compared to 11,600 Young Republicans (that's over 479,000 compared to 259,960 in 2000)

Rhode Island:

13% of the overall youth vote for Democrats

The only age group to give Obama a margin of victory in Rhode Island

23,541 young Democrats voted - CNN does not have exit polling for young Republicans

Vermont:

11% of the overall vote for Democrats

Obama got 64% and Clinton got 31%

14,364 young Democrats voted

Texas (not including the caucus):

Turnout went up to 17% (thats up 11% from 2000) (says CIRCLE

16% of the overall vote for Democrats

58% for Obama and 42% for Clinton

13% of Republican voters were young (split between Huck and McCain 43/44)

449,172 young Democrats vs. 171,211 young Republicans (over 620,000 total which is up from 172,228 in 2000)

Texas Caucus??

As for the caucus in Texas young people were certainly prevalent. Because CNN doesn't do exit or entrance polls for the Texas Caucus, we can only rely on first-hand accounts.

A good Texas friend said that there were huge lines standing outside her caucus site for almost three hours before the doors opened. They had over 500 people--almost 380 for Obama and 83 for Clinton.

The caucus there didn't end until 10:55 p.m. and she remarked that if it went until 11 p.m., the caucus goers would have to go outside because their bi-laws state that they have to close the caucuses at that time.

The most disappointing thing at the end of a Dallas Morning News piece: the multiple confusions that surrounded the new voters.

"Despite the high voter interest, many students also were turned away--for showing up at the wrong precinct, forgetting identification cards and failing to register in time.

During the lunch hour at a UT precinct, nearly one in five young people weren't able to vote. Even Ms. Nickleberry was turned away. Despite campaigning for Mr. Obama, she said, she always believed she could register to vote on primary day."

This is something Mike Connery talks a lot about over at Future Majority and in his new book Youth to Power. If we had Election Day Registration it would help overwhelmingly because it assists voters who move around a lot--basically young voters.

Mainstream media are starting to pick up on this new exciting world of young voters too!

"Young people are energized," says Dr. Mary Dixon, associate director of University of Texas's Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Participation. "Young voters are about the now and the future; they're not about the past. They don't remember Watergate. They've never lived in a world where abortion was illegal. They don't remember Reaganomics. They don't remember the Berlin wall. And they don't remember Bill Clinton on Arsenio Hall. Most of them were in grade school when Monica Lewinsky happened."

Late last night the Dallas Morning News acknowledged the power of the youth vote.

" Indeed, Texas' youngest voters came out in huge numbers for the primary, flooding campus polls Tuesday after weeks of record-setting early voting. Voters ages 18 to 29 made up about 16 percent of Texas' overall turnout."

This is for certain--young voters voted in insane numbers! As far as turnout, they voted for Democrats 2-1 over Republicans.

Ally Klimkoski has been a staff member in numerous races from presidential campaigns to city council races. Ally also consults and provides trainings to interest groups and activist organizations nationwide. Ally is especially interested in global human rights issues and the ever-increasing wage disparity in the U.S.

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