How did the youth vote in the 2016 Election? Was there any shift in how they voted in 2012 versus 2016? This article will look into this question.
The outcome of the 2016 election was definitely a surprise to many, especially given how pollsters were nearly unanimous in predicting a Clinton victory in the Presidential Election. There was even hope that the Senate will flip Democratic, with many competitive Senate races tilting in the balance. But on election night, Donald Trump won, and that has left a lot of professional pollsters scrambling to try and figure out how they missed the mark. Another area of interest has been how millennial voted in the 2016 elections. The youth vote has always been an area of curiosity for politicians and media, with each election bringing in hope that the youth will turn out in record numbers to support a particular candidate or party. Even our own article back in 2015 looked into this question.
However, outside of Barack Obama’s record youth turnout in 2008, the pattern of youth voting has been stable and almost predictable. There was hope that Bernie Sanders will turn that around, however, since he did not win his party’s nomination, the outcome of the youth vote became uncertain. So, what actually happened in 2016?
How the Youth Voted In 2016
According to exit polling information analyzed by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), about half the number of eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 29 (“millennials,” although millennials also include people in their early-to-mid-30s) voted in the 2016 election. That is lower than the overall voter turnout of 58 percent. Of the youth that voted in the elections, about 55 percent of supported Hilary Clinton versus 37 percent support for Donald Trump. For comparison, in his 2012 re-election vote, Barack Obama attracted 60 percent of the youth vote while roughly 37 percent supported Mitt Romney. This shows that Hilary Clinton did not attract the level of enthusiasm among the youth as Barack Obama did.
As the graph above indicates, millennials were also voted in the highest percentage for the Democratic candidate. Another interesting data to look at is the demographic breakdown of the youth vote. As the graph below shows, Barack Obama captured a bigger portion of the White, Black and Latino vote than Hilary Clinton did. Some have attributed Clinton’s percentage drop in the White and Black vote as the main reason for her loss.
What are your thoughts about the two graphs. Did anything surprise you about the way the youth vote in the 2016 election? Share your comments below.
Hi, I am Richard McDaniel, editor of YouthVote.org. I live in Madison, WI with my wife and 2 daughters. I am passionate about getting our youth involved in the political process. We are the most misunderstood generation but we also have tools that make it possible to take action on issues we care about much more effective than the older generation did. Through this site, I hope to bring you stories that cause you to get involved and change our country and the world for the better.