Young People More Engaged, More Uncertain; Debates More Important to Young Voters

Source Organization: Pew Research Center

09/30/2004 - Like other Americans, young people express much more interest in politics and voting than they did at this stage in the election four years ago. But people under age 30 continue to lag behind their elders in political interest and voting intention. Young voters also have been far less consistent in their candidate support, seesawing in recent weeks between John Kerry and George Bush.

In September polls conducted by the Pew Research Center, 57% of those under age 30 say they are giving a lot of thought to the upcoming election. That compares with just 41% of young people who said they were thinking a lot about the election at this stage four years ago, and 44% in 1996. Older people, those age 30 and older, continue to express more interest in the election ­ more than seven-in-ten in each older age group say they are giving a great deal of thought to the election.

There also has been an across-the-board increase in interest in election news compared with four years ago, with the percentage of young people following this news very closely nearly tripling (from 10% to 27%). Even so, significantly fewer Americans under age 30 than older people track campaign news very closely.

The percentage of young people who say they are registered to vote also has increased significantly since 2000 ­ from 47% to 58%. The number who are registered is at the 1992 level (60%). And the number of young registered voters who say they plan to vote in November has reached 85%, up from 67% four years ago.

Read the full report Young People More Engaged, More Uncertain; Debates More Important to Young Voters on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.

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