Young Voters Come Out, Again, in Wisconsin and Hawaii

Young Voters Come Out, Again, in Wisconsin and Hawaii

Young Voters Come Out, Again, in Wisconsin and Hawaii

…and they give Barack Obama the edge.


Ally Klimkoski

February 20, 2008

Young people in Wisconsin braved frigid temperatures to turnout at the largest numbers we’ve seen in many, many, many elections. CNN exit polling was showing that youth turnout is at 16 percent. That’s because exit pollsters disproportionately tend to poll older demographics.

But the CIRCLE analysis is now showing that 25 percent of eligible Wisconsin citizens under 30 voted in last night’s primary. About 44,000 youth came out to vote in the Republican primary and over 175,000 in the Democratic. (The Republican breakdown for WI was not available from the exit polls.)

The polls for both Obama and Clinton have gone back and forth for the last few weeks, putting them both within the margin of victory. That said, tonight Obama won Wisconsin with 58 percent of the vote. He won every single age bloc except people over the age of 60, which he barely lost. If you break it down even more, he lost considerably among people over 65. With young voters, however, he did well winning 70 percent.

Obama also did very well among young white voters. What is often said about his leads over Clinton, is that they are primarily made up of African American voters. And I’ll agree he does very well there, but evidently he also does well among white voters because he swept the young white vote as well as the middle aged white vote in Wisconsin. Obama also won among the people who make under $50,000 a year, (by 10 percent) a demographic often thought to go for Clinton.

Women continued to vote for Clinton, but in the past few elections (after New Hampshire) we’ve seen them go overwhelmingly for her. That margin was much closer in Wisconsin tonight with Clinton winning women just 4 points above Obama.

Obama won in Hawaii this evening as well. With his roots in the state and the fact that it was a caucus (Obama performs better in caucuses than primaries) he was expected to do well.

There are no exit polls for the state nor do we have a solid track record of turnout among young voters in Hawaii. But in 2004 there was a piece about high school students defying odds and convention who showed up to vote. That enthusiasm is expected to continue into this year as well with more participation among all age groups including young voters.

What is extremely exciting is that the turnout Hawaii saw was nine times what they saw in 2004. That year 4,000 caucused and this year over 37,000 people attended the caucuses.

Huckabee is still holding on in his opposition to Sen. John McCain. Washington (state) and Wisconsin voted last night and both states went for McCain. Washington 44/22 and Wisconsin 55/37. Huckabee still stands well below McCain’s voters, but he is running strong on his conservative message.

Last week Mitt Romney endorsed McCain but there is not yet a conclusive understanding with where the Romney delegates will go. Many are moving to McCain but some are still defecting to Huckabee.

Young Voters in Wisconsin went solidly for democratic candidates last night. In fact young Democrats almost quadrupled the young Republicans turnout in Wisconsin with 175,841 young people voting for Democrats and only 44,363 voting for Republicans. Unfortunately because GOP turnout among young voters was so low there is no conclusive exit polling to tell us which GOP candidate young people voted for.

Washington is home to a number of mega churches that have created a culture of activism and involvement both at the church and politically. It makes it all the more shocking that McCain out performed Huckabee by twice as many voters. Huckabee is known for his relationship to the Evangelical community and in the past has not only done well with them but has also done well with young churchgoers.

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