Experts: Young Voters Crucial for Upcoming Elections
Wednesday, September 13, 2023
Vice President Kamala Harris is set to embark soon on a month-long college tour that includes the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas, according to The White House.
The Biden administration is acknowledging the power younger voters have, especially in the next presidential election. Data from the Brookings Institution show younger generations like Millennials and 'Gen-Zers,' tend to lean more Democrat.
Dakota Hall, executive director of Alliance for Youth Action, said young voters want what he calls "transformational change," and will not be satisfied unless there are what he describes as "sweeping changes" relating to democracy.
"These are folks who went to high school and witnessed nothing but 'on' news coverage on their different social media feeds - of Trump, of dysfunction, of government shutdowns - and then a global pandemic, right? And so, they've seen the worst of what this country can be, and I think they want to push us forward," he said.
According to research from the alliance, young voters in key 2022 election battleground states, like Nevada, are heavily focused on two issues. For more progressive young voters, nearly two in three see safeguarding abortion access as a top priority. Those who identify as more conservative see bringing inflation under control as their top issue.
Michael Hais, former vice president of the research-based consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates, said political attitudes and party identification tend to be formalized by young voters in their late teens and early twenties. A family's political values will influence a young person, but also highlights the importance that political events can have in shaping their political outlook, he added.
"Many of them may identify initially as independents, but they lean toward one party or another. But once the attitudes are formed, and once people begin to use them in their political behavior and their voting, they tend to firm up pretty consistently" continued Hais.
Hais said the development of younger voters' political attitudes today will have an impact for decades to come. The Brookings Institution projects that if Americans under age 45 vote at the same rate as they did in 2020, they will represent more than one-third of the 2024 electorate.
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