The young and the restless: Millennials in the 2012 election
AEI Politics Watch

Video

Event Summary
Although young voter turnout will likely be lower in the 2012 election than in 2008, it remains evident that the millennial generation will still largely support Barack Obama. At an AEI event on Wednesday, polling, demographic and voter outreach experts discussed their predictions for the millennial generation's role in the upcoming election.

In the first panel, Neil Howe of Lifecourse Associates argued that millennials cut across most normal political categories, which tends to baffle older generations when it comes to social issues. Ruy Teixeira of the Center for American Progress argued that Mitt Romney's campaign lacks a strategy to appeal to young voters, which will hurt him at the ballot box. Scott Keeter of the Pew Research Center, however, suggested that while millennials have negative perceptions of the Republican brand, many are still learning and making decisions about Romney.

In the second panel, Heather Smith and Paul Conway  of Rock the Vote and Generation Opportunity, respectively, emphasized that while social media and mobile technology are increasingly important in young voter outreach, ground-level involvement still engages millennials. Smith rejected the idea that millennial voters are eager to engage in generational warfare. Instead, Conway emphasized, many young voters will be driven by the candidates' positions on the economy.
-- Andrew Rugg

Event Description
In 2008, Barack Obama won millennial voters —18 to 29 year olds —by 34 points. The voters also turned out in high numbers, comprising about 18 percent of the electorate. It is unlikely that Mitt Romney and fellow Republicans will win over young voters in 2012, but recent polling suggests that Obama’s margin may not be as large as 2008 and that turnout may not be as high. 

To understand how members of the millennial generation will impact the 2012 election, come to AEI to listen to two panels of experts explore who exactly millennials are, their involvement in the political process and how campaigns are mobilizing them.

Resources

Chart: The millennial vote, 1972-2008

Infographic: I love 1994: A look at what was happening when America's newest voters were born

Slideshow: The events that have shaped the millennial era

 

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About the Author

 

Karlyn
Bowman
  • Karlyn Bowman compiles and analyzes American public opinion using available polling data on a variety of subjects, including the economy, taxes, the state of workers in America, environment and global warming, attitudes about homosexuality and gay marriage, NAFTA and free trade, the war in Iraq, and women's attitudes. In addition, Ms. Bowman has studied and spoken about the evolution of American politics because of key demographic and geographic changes. She has often lectured on the role of think tanks in the United States and writes a weekly column for Forbes.com.
  • Phone: 2028625910
    Email: kbowman@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Andrew Rugg
    Phone: 2028625917
    Email: andrew.rugg@aei.org

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