Youth Vote in 2004

Much was made of the youth vote in 2004. It seemed more than ever before young voters were targeted not only by the candidates, but also by organizations like Rock the Vote and the Vote or Die campaign. Many in the Democratic party were hoping that the youth vote would help them win the election since most young voters tend to vote Democrat. A huge push was made to register as many new voters as possible. The challenge was actually getting these newly registered voters to the polls. (2)

At first it was thought that the turn out of young voters was a disappointment in 2004. But as it turns out, once the data and polls were analyzed, the number of 18-24 year-olds who voted in 2004 was up 11%. (1) Some say though, that this is because overall voter turn out in 2004 was up, which naturally means more young voters. The overall turn out for the 2004 elections was the highest since 1968, and almost 5 million more 18-24 year-olds voted than did in the 2000 election.(4)

It is not yet known if this rise in voter turn out is the beginning of a new trend or only a one time spike in voters. (1). What is known is that more young voters went for John Kerry instead of George W. Bush. Young voters listed the economy and morals as issues they feel are most important for a President to address. Those who listed the economy as their chief concern voted for Kerry, and those who said morals were most important voted for Bush. (2)

First time voters made up about 10% of the electorate in 2004, which is the same percentage as in 2000. (2) Studies also found that among eligible voters between 18 and 24 years-old, those who were single voted more than those who were married, with single young women having the higest turn out. Young African American voter turn-out was up 11%, more than any other racial or ethnic group. (1)