With the election just a few more months away, young voters are slow to show interest in voting than in previous elections. A Gallup poll conducted between May 1 and July 10 indicated that only 58% of registered voters between 18 and 29 said they will “definitely vote.”
While 58% would hardly indicate voter apathy, young voter interest is 20 points lower than the national average of 78%. It’s also significantly lower than the level of interest polled about this time before the last two presidential elections, with 61% of 18-29-year-olds in June of 2004 and 69% of the same age in June of 2008, who were committed to voting.
The national average also shows a deficit from the summer months before the last two presidential elections. The 78% of polled registered voters who say they plan to vote falls slightly behind the 80% in June 2004 and at 82% in June 2008. That number is expected to increase as the election draws nearer.
In addition to overwhelming support from young voters, minority voters were also credited with helping President Obama win the 2008 election. In the summer preceding the 2008 election, 84% of black registered voters said they would definitely vote. That increased to 87% by the end of the campaign. Hispanic voters currently support Obama by more than a 2-to-1 margin, but only 64% of Hispanic voters were ready to commit to voting in July. Right before the election of 2008, Hispanic turnout intentions were only eight points below the national average.
From this data, Gallup surmised, “young voters will not turn out at the same rate as in 2008, even if they show an expected increase in voting intention over the course of the campaign. Black turnout appears as though it will be similar to that for all voters, though participation among Hispanics could be lower. Turnout among all voters in 2012 may also be lower than in the past two presidential elections, both of which had above-average turnout from a historical perspective.”
Follow Elise Rambaud Marrion on Twitter @emarrion_cmn.