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Volume 70, Issue 53, Thursday, November 4, 2004


Youth voter turnout spikes -- or does it?

Cougar News Staff

Though voting was up this year among young Americans, their total numbers fell short Tuesday of the breakout some observers expected.

Nearly 21 million Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 voted in this election, the nonpartisan Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement reported. That's about 52 percent of eligible voters in that age range, compared with 42 percent in 2000 and 35 percent in 1996.

"Turnout was up across the board. Youth turnout increased and kept up with the overall increase," Carrie Donovan, CIRCLE's young vote director, told The Dallas Morning News.

But overall, the increase in young voter turnout kept pace with an overall increase that brought about 60 percent of all registered voters to the polls -- a higher percentage than in any election since 1968.

Exit polls showed that voters between 18 and 29 accounted for around 17 percent of all voters, the same percentage as in 2000, the Morning News reported.

Across the country, young voters supported Democratic candidate John Kerry by 54 percent of the vote to President George W. Bush's 44 percent -- the only age group in which Kerry beat Bush. One percent of young voters went for independent candidate Ralph Nader.

Those results were roughly mirrored in an informal Daily Cougar poll of 310 UH students. Here, 57.1 percent of students polled said they voted for Kerry; 41.3 percent said they supported the president; and 1.5 percent cast their votes for Nader, Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik and Green Party candidate David Cobb.

According to The Associated Press, the economy and moral values were the top issues among young voters, with about one-fifth choosing each as the most important issue in exit polls. Those who were concerned with values supported Bush, while those with an interest in the economy chose Kerry, the AP reported.

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