Young Voters to Senate Dems: You’re Welcome!

Flickr/Momo, Creative CommonsFlickr/Momo, Creative CommonsAs I hopped on the bus Tuesday in San Francisco, I spotted only five 20- to 30-somethings with “I voted” stickers on their coats and hoodies. That’s a far cry from November 2, 2008, when it seemed like every other young person in town sported an Obama t-shirt or an “I voted” sticker. But despite an obvious decrease in hype, youth voter turn out was much as MoJo blogger Kevin Drum predicted: 20%, very similar to other midterm election years.

National youth research center CIRCLE points out that youth turnout was higher—by 1 percent—in states where youth outreach groups were highly active: AZ, CA, CO, FL, OH, OR, and PA.

What, you think a 1 percent difference in a state is chump change in the larger scheme of things? Well, consider this: In Colorado, Sen. Michael Bennet beat Rep. Ken Buck by 1 percent. And in Washington, Sen. Pat Murray won by less than a 1 percent advantage.

So, Ezra Klein is right: Too bad Dems didn’t try harder to reach out to the only constituency that favored Dems last night. And as Jamilah King over at RaceWire points out, expect them to play a lot of catch up in the next two years.

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  • Kristina Rizga

    Kristina Rizga is a former education correspondent at Mother Jones. You can reach her at kristina@rizga.com. Rizga covers education, focusing primarily on how school reforms affect students and teachers in the classrooms, and how policies create or reduce racial disparities in schools. She is the author of Mission High (Nation Books, 2015).