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Granite State Shows Youth Vote Playing Major Role in 2016

Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg says young-voter turnout tied a record of 43 percent in the Granite State primary and could be an indicator of how committed young voters are in general in casting a ballot in 2016. (CIRCLE).
Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg says young-voter turnout tied a record of 43 percent in the Granite State primary and could be an indicator of how committed young voters are in general in casting a ballot in 2016. (CIRCLE).
February 19, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. - Primary season is starting to move into high gear this weekend, and an analysis of who turned out for the New Hampshire primary indicates the youth vote is playing a major role this election. As voters in Nevada and South Carolina head to the polls and caucuses, there is good reason to focus on younger voters.

Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), said its analysis shows 43 percent of younger voters aged 18 to 29 cast a ballot in the Granite State primary election, turning out in large numbers from both parties.

"It's not just Democratic youth who are showing incredible enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders," she said, "but also Republicans who are really trying to decide who represents their ideology and their voices."

The CIRCLE analysis found that youth turnout this year tied the record turnout scored in 2008. On the Democratic side, 83 percent of young people voted for Bernie Sanders. On the GOP side, Donald Trump came away with the greatest share - 37 percent of the youth vote.

Kawashima-Ginsberg said it is important to factor in the weather conditions that prevailed on Primary Day this year in New Hampshire.

"That is sort of what's incredible about New Hampshire, because it was snowing almost the entire day, and that's often the number one reason for young people not voting, even when they are registered, if it was inconvenient for their time," she said. "This was clearly inconvenient this year and they still came out, so that shows you something about their commitment."

Overall, she said, Democrats turned out the most young voters but the Republican Party saw the greatest increase in the share of younger voters participating in the election process.

The CIRCLE analysis is online at civicyouth.org.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH