Young Voters Grow Their Share of Electorate Play Critical Role in Re-Electing President Obama

Defying expectations, young people once again increased their share of the electorate and played a major role in the 2012 elections.  According to CNN national exit polls, the share of votes cast by those under 30 increased from 18% in 2008 to 19% in 2012, and those voters favored the President by a margin of 60% to 36%.

“Tonight, young people proved yet again, that they are a powerful force in our country’s democracy.  Their impact rivaled that of 2008; they showed up and played a major role in picking our President,” said Heather Smith, President, Rock the Vote.

As this large and diverse generation of young people enters the electorate, their impact on our nation’s elections is now undeniable.  According to CNN exit polls, voters under-30 made up a larger share of the electorate than those over 65 (17%).

“Tonight’s results hopefully put an end to the accusation of a so called “enthusiasm gap.”  This proves that any campaign that ignores young voters does so at its own peril,” continues Smith.

This year, Rock the Vote ran a national effort that registered nearly a million voters, fought to protect the right to vote of young people, and then asked millions to turnout on Election Day.  Using on-the-ground efforts and online and mobile technology, Rock the Vote engaged and mobilized millions of young voters across the country.

“Tonight we celebrate the power of young people,” said Adam Leberer, Rock the Vote intern and first time voter.

Tomorrow, our work continues as we ensure that President Obama—and all elected officials—represent young Americans over the next four years.

A first look at youth turnout based on exit poll data and further analysis by the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning (CIRCLE) will be discussed during a national press conference call being held by Rock the Vote and CIRCLE tomorrow (Wednesday, time TBD). To reserve a line on the call please RSVP to

About Rock the Vote: Rock the Vote’s mission is to engage and build political power for young people in our country. Using music, popular culture, new technologies, and grassroots organizing for more than 20 years, Rock the Vote has registered more than six million young people.