1000 x 90

CIRCLE Analysis Shows Youth Helped to Keep Election Close, but Support for Hagan Way Down from 2008

Nov. 6, 2014. Youth vote experts from the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE) – the preeminent, non-partisan research center on youth engagement based at Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service – today released in-depth analysis on youth voters in North Carolina during Tuesday’s highly competitive U.S. Senate election in the state.

Young voters (ages 18-29) in North Carolina favored incumbent U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) with 53% of their votes. Her opponent, Republican nominee Thom Tillis, received only 39% of the youth vote in the state. Youth voter turnout has risen in North Carolina during the past two midterm election cycles.

“The big news about young voters in North Carolina on Tuesday night was that their support for Senator Hagan fell 17 percentage points from what she received back in 2008,” said Peter Levine, Director of CIRCLE and Associate Dean of Tisch College.  “Youth support of Senator Hagan helped to keep this a close election, but it was nowhere near the lopsided 71% of the youth vote she received six years ago.”

There are 1.4 million 18 to 29-year-old citizens in the state of North Carolina, one of the ten highest youth populations of any state in the country.  Young North Carolinians make up 20.5% of the total population of the state. For additional state-specific data on young voters in North Carolina, please visit here.

The U.S. Senate election in North Carolina was considered a “competitive” race in 2014. In states with “competitive” Senate races in 2014, youth voter turnout was an estimated 26.8%, compared to 17.0% in states with “highly-favored” or “safe” Republican candidates, and 23.4% in largely Democratic states.

Today, CIRCLE has also released an exclusive, national youth turnout estimate showing that at least 10 million young Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 cast a ballot in Tuesday’s elections across the country — a turnout rate of 21.5%.  The number of young voters in Tuesday’s election is comparable to the turnout seen in other, recent midterm elections.  In 2010, the two-day youth turnout estimate was 20.9%, or around 9.2 million young people.

“In terms of both youth turnout and vote choice, 2014 looks like a typical midterm election year as far as youth are concerned. Young people made up a similar proportion of voters in 2010,” said Peter Levine, Director of CIRCLE and Associate Dean of Tisch College.  “Although this was a wave election for the GOP, youth still tended to vote Democratic. In the national exit poll data on House races, 18 to 29-year-olds preferred Democratic candidates by 54% to 43%.”

For a full breakdown of the youth vote turnout, as well as historical data comparisons and further sourcing information for the data, please visit here.  Further information on the youth share of the electorate can be found, here. CIRCLE will released additional analysis of the youth vote over the next week.

Throughout this election season, CIRCLE’s 2014 Election Center has offered myriad new products providing comprehensive analysis of young voters, both nationally and in targeted states and congressional districts across the country.  Some of these products include:  an Interactive Congressional District Map and Interactive State-by-State Voting Map; as well as The Youth Vote in 2014:  Congressional House Races to Watch and 2014 Midterms:  Young Voters in Competitive Senate Races.


CIRCLE (www.civicyouth.org) is a nonpartisan, independent, academic research center that studies young people in politics and presents detailed data on young voters in all 50 states. CIRCLE is part of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University.

The Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service (http://activecitizen.tufts.edu/) is a national leader whose model and research are setting the standard for higher education’s role in civic engagement education. Serving every school of Tufts University, Tisch College creates an enduring culture that prepares students to be lifelong active citizens.

Tufts University (http://www.tufts.edu/), located on three Massachusetts campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville and Grafton, and in Talloires, France, is recognized as one of the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs across the university’s schools is widely encouraged.