They were part of the 21 million under-30 Americans who voted in 2004, an increase of 4.6 million over 2000. The turnout rate among 18-29 year olds rose from about 42.3 percent to 51.6 percent, a sharp rise of 9.3 percentage points.
New Voters About 8 million of the under-30 voters, or 42 percent, voted for the first time. They represent 64 percent of the 13 million first-time voters.
Presidential Choice Young voters favored the Democratic ticket by a significant margin, with 18-24 year olds favoring Senator Kerry over President Bush by 56-43 percent, and voters under 30 favoring Kerry 54-45 percent.
Issues Young voters generally had the same concerns as older voters. Of the under-30 voters, for example, 22 percent said moral values were the most important issue, the same percentage as all voters. But on some prominent issues, they differed dramatically. Notably, 41 percent favor gay marriage, compared to 25 percent of all voters. They were 12 percentage points more likely than older voters to identify as liberal, and seven percentage points less likely to call themselves conservative. Voters under 30 were also 10 percentage points more likely to believe that government should do more to solve problems.
CIRCLE analysis is based on national and state exit polls conducted by Edison/Mitofsky and vote tallies from the Associated Press which are the only available data on voters in the 2004 election. More information, including data on issues, is available at www.civicyouth.org.