Rock The Vote Statement: Virginia Election Results

EXIT POLL UPDATE: According to exit poll data thus far, the youth vote’s share of the overall electorate in Virginia increased by 3% points when compared to the 2009 gubernatorial election. Among voters 18-29 years of age, Terry McAuliffe beat Ken Cuccinelli 45% to 39%. In 2013, the Democratic share of the youth vote increased by 1% point and the Republican share decreased by 15% points when compared to 2009.

Tonight, following news that Terry McAuliffe has been declared the winner in Virginia’s hotly contested gubernatorial election, Rock The Vote released the following statement from its president, Heather Smith concerning the role young voters played in the decisive outcome:

“Today, young voters showed up and made their voice heard: they will have a say in Virginia’s future.”
“These results prove that young people continue to defy the unfortunately low expectations placed on them by others who should know better by now. Young voters are a political force to be reckoned with.”
“We are now witnessing the inevitability of how our country will be changed as a result of the Millennial Generation’s size, diversity, passion and engagement.”
“Their participation was a deciding factor in today’s election, and their generation will continue to shape our electorate and country for decades to come as more than 12,000 Millennials turn 18 each day. Between today and Election Day 2016, more than 13 million new young voters will enter the electorate.”
“In 2012, President Obama won Virginia because of voters under the age of 30 – they were the only age group to vote for the President, and they favored him by 25 points (61% v 36%). In 2013, these same voters made Terry McAuliffe the next Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
On Election Day, nine Rock The Vote fellows worked on the ground with 15 campuses across Virginia to make more than 15,000 calls to young voters and hosted rides to the polls throughout the day. These get out the vote efforts were complemented by an online voter registration drive that brought 30,000 voters under 30 onto the rolls, and a major mobile text messaging, Facebook advertising, and direct email campaign reminding young voters to turn out. During the 2012 presidential election, Rock The Vote organized efforts that brought 45,165 young voters to the polls in Virginia.
CANDIDATES COURTED YOUTH VOTE: Terry McAuliffe visited 23 community colleges in Virginia and toured five college towns with former President Bill Clinton last week, while Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has made one public appearance at a Virginia campus — Liberty University with Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.
YOUNG VOTERS IN VIRGINIA: During the 2012 election, 57.4% of young citizens aged 18-24 registered to vote and 61.1% of young citizens aged 18-29 registered to vote. In 2012, there was an estimated 1.162 million young citizens aged 18-29 eligible to vote in Virginia. An estimated 52.1% – more than half – of young people in Virginia voted in the 2012 presidential election. 61% of young voters in Virginia aged 18-29 voted for President Obama in 2012. [SOURCE: CIRCLE] 
2009 VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION: In the last Virginia gubernatorial race in 2009, young voters made up 17% of all voters. Young voters voted for Republican Bob McDonnell over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds by 54% to 44% margin. [SOURCE: CIRCLE
YOUNG VOTERS NATIONALLY: According to exit polls, 23 million young citizens aged 18-29 voted in the last presidential election, making up 19% of the total electorate. Young voters played a critical role in swing states – young voters in states like Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania decided at least 80 electoral votes. [SOURCE: CIRCLE] 
YOUNG WOMEN VOTERS NATIONALLY: 7% more young women voters aged 18-29 turned out in the 2012 presidential election than young men voters. Young African-American women had the highest turn out of young voters in the 2012 election; 60.1% of African American women voted in the 2012 election. 98% of young African-American women voted for Obama. [SOURCE: “Young Women Drive Youth Turn Out” / CIRCLE]