Fewer young voters can say they are absolutely certain they are registered to vote
Talk about a generation gap: Baby boomers were once encouraged to “turn on.” Today, there are questions whether Millennials will turn out; to vote, that is.
A new Pew Research Center survey finds that the youngest eligible voters, who had a major impact on the 2008 election, are less engaged this year and “now lag far begind older voters in interest in the campaign and attention to vote.”
Eighteen percent of Millennials are “very closely” following campaign news compared to 35 percent four years ago. Less than two-thirds (63 percent) of registered voters say they definitely plan to vote in November, down from 72 percent in 2008.
Not only are Millennials less engaged in the upcoming election, Pew finds, but fewer among the under-30 crowd are registered to vote. Only half of respondents say they are absolutely certain that they are registered, compared to 61 percent in 2008 and 57 percent in 2004.
A Millionaire Corner survey conducted in September in Affluent households finds a “meh” attitude toward the election among the youngest respondents. The election does not seem to be uppermost on their lists of concerns. Respondents under the age of 40 were less likely than their older counterparts to be generally worried about the election, over whether the candidate from the opposing party will win, whether lawmakers will reach a partisan agreement on the fiscal cliff, and whether the market will drop.
Still, as with older respondents, the economy is the most important campaign issue for almost 50 percent of under-40 households. But they are more than twice as likely as older voters to be concerned about social issues.
The slippage in youth engagement, Pew finds, is non-partisan. “The slippage is equally evident among both Obama and Romney supporters.” Among voters under 40 who support the president, 58 percent have given a lot of thought to the election, down from 70 percent four years ago. Similarly, 59 percent of young voters who support Romney have given a lot of consideration to the election, down from 75 percent among McCain supporters in 2008.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.