Trend: 18-29 vote for president

Exit poll context for new report on younger voters shunning Republicans


  1. I read with interest the Politico report posted yesterday evening on "How GOP lost young voters" - a report from the College Republican National Committee based largely on two national quantitative surveys plus focus groups that Republican campaign firm TheWinstonGroup conducted among 18-to-29-year-olds. 

    Thought  I'd add some context - trend lines on the 18-29 vote in presidential races since 1992, according to national exit polls conducted for ABC, AP, CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC. (Larger, more legible version of chart here.)
  2. We see Mitt Romney actually did a little better against Barack Obama than John McCain did four years earlier - despite the headwinds described in the CRNC report. But George W. Bush was considerably more competitive among the 18-29  group in both his races. Sampling error is small, only 2-3 points on these estimates, because of very large samples sizes in the national survey - more than 26,000 in the 2012 exit poll, including 4,467 voters age 18-29 (and that included early voters reached by landline and cell phone in the week before the election). 

    It was quite a different story in the 1970s and '80s, as shown by these CBS-New York Times exit poll data on the 18-29 vote: 
  3. Nixon won the 18-29 vote, as did Reagan (by far) in his re-election bid (1980 was complicated by the third-party candidacy of John Anderson)  and George H.W. Bush in his first run for president. Since then, only George W. Bush has come close in the Republican Party's bid for younger voters.