By: Robyn Gee
The number of young people who say they are extremely likely to vote has risen by almost 10 percentage points, according to a new poll by CIRCLE, the Center for Information Research and Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.
The poll surveyed 1,109 young people ages 18 - 29 about their thoughts on the presidential election. These were the same young people that they surveyed in June/July of this year, which allowed CIRCLE to get a sense of how young peoples' attitudes have changed over time.
Some highlights of the poll's findings include:
* Two thirds of young people surveyed are currently very or extremely likely to vote.
* Of the young people who say they're extremely likely to vote, President Obama leads by 17 percentage points (52 percent of likely young voters support Obama and 35 support Romney).
* The number of young undecided voters has gone down from 15 % in the summer, to 9 percent in mid-October.
The number of undecided young voters has decreased while support for the President has increased among young voters by almost eight percent. Support for Romney among young voters has decreased by an amount within the margin of error.
Youth Radio spoke with Abby Kiesa, Youth Coordinator and Researcher at CIRCLE. She said that a lot has happened between July and mid-October. "Certainly the debates were one thing that happened. The other thing going on are just massive field operations on the ground. Research says that when young people are asked to vote, when they're contacted, they're much more likely to turn out to vote," said Kiesa. "Over the past three months there's been ample opportunities for youth organizations, the campaigns, family members, friends to reach out to and talk to young people about voting."
Another thing that happened since their last poll was released was the announcement of Paul Ryan as the vice presidential running mate for the Republican ticket. "A third of young people think he's a good pick, a third think he's not a good pick, and a third are unsure. What that probably represents is that being generally young is not a shoe-in for young voters. It's been consistent that young people look at issues," said Kiesa.
Speaking of issues, jobs and the economy are still number one for young people as of mid-October, ranking 26 points ahead of the next most important issue: health care.
More young people feel that the country is going in the right direction as of mid-October. "That could be a reaction to the different economic indicators coming out, like employment... There's been a jump from 56 to 71 percent of young people who are really engaged in the election and paying attention, so that could also represent young people increasingly informing themselves about what's going on," said Kiesa.
So what can candidates do in the next eight days to change the outcome of the election? The survey asked young people what, if anything, could influence them to vote. Forty seven percent of young people polled in mid-October said that being asked by their parent to vote, would influence them to do so. "We look at youth voting and we think that maybe it's just an individual decision a young person makes, but it's a whole series of things coming together," said Kiesa. Friends and family asking young people to vote in person could change the youth turnout in the upcoming election.
Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.
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