FACT CHECK: Did Young People Only Make Up 13 Percent Of The Vote In 2014?

Shane Devine | Fact Check Reporter

CNN anchor Victor Blackwell said on “New Day Sunday” that only 13 percent of voters in the 2014 midterm election were between the ages of 18 and 29.

“Let’s put up the numbers from the 2014 midterms, 18- to 29-year-olds made up just 13 percent of the electorate there,” he said.

Verdict: True

The statistic comes from exit polling on Election Day. The Census Bureau reported similar findings, with young people making up 10 percent of the vote in 2014.

Fact Check:

Blackwell brought up the stat while discussing When We All Vote, a nonpartisan voter registration initiative led by former first lady Michelle Obama.

“So, this appears to be focused on young people going through social media, lots of celebrities,” he said on Sept. 23. “But we know, especially during midterms, that the youth vote is dramatically lower than other groups.”

He asked Democratic strategist Kevin Cate how the voting initiative would perform any better than past attempts at getting young people out to vote.

“I mean, we have seen Rock the Vote. We’ve seen other get out the vote efforts focused on young people, celebrity-driven, well-funded and through social media, on the networks and channels and platforms that they watch,” Blackwell said.

CNN pulled up a graphic that showed that 18- to 29-year-olds only made up 13 percent of those who voted in 2014, while 30- to 44-year-olds made up 22 percent, 45- to 64-year-olds made up 43 percent and 65-year-olds and older made up 22 percent.

These stats come from Edison Research, the authoritative source for exit polling data on Election Day. The polls are conducted on behalf of the National Election Pool, a consortium of news outlets that includes CNN.

The Census Bureau has also analyzed voting patterns in the 2014 midterms and reported similar results. Data from its July 2015 release of the Current Population Survey shows that 18- to 29-year-olds made up 10 percent of those who voted in 2014.

Neither of these sources are an official tally, but rather a sampling of the voting population.

With 46 million citizens between the ages of 18 and 29, this voting bloc accounted for 21 percent of the eligible voting population in 2014. Yet only 20 percent of young people cast ballots in the 2014 midterms, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University.

By comparison, 48 percent of those 30 and older turned out to vote.

CIRCLE estimates that youth turnout in midterm elections has declined to its lowest point in decades, down from 29 percent in 1978. This decline isn’t unique to young voters, however. Voter turnout for those 30 and older was 57 percent in 1978.

Voting rates tend to be higher in presidential elections. Around 50 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds voted in the 2016 presidential election, while 66 percent of those over 30 voted. Fifty-five percent of the youth vote went to the Democratic Party, according to CIRCLE, while 37 percent went to the Republican Party.

An August survey by NBC News found that 31 percent of millennials say they will definitely cast a vote in the upcoming midterm elections, with another 24 percent who say they will probably vote.

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Shane Devine

Fact Check Reporter