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Iowa Youth Turnout Rate More Than Triples
Thirteen percent of eligible Iowans under the age of 30 participated in January 3ís Iowa caucuses, according to preliminary analysis by CIRCLE(The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement). The youth turnout rate rose to 13 percent in 2008 from 4 percent in 2004 and 3 percent in 2000. Young voters expanded as a proportion of all caucus-goers, and the total number of Iowans who caucused grew, producing the three-fold increase in youth participation. Youth supported both winners—Senator Barack Obama (D) and Governor Mike Huckabee (R)—by the largest margins of any age group.
Comparisons to past years must be made with caution, because turnout is affected by the date of the caucuses and by the nature of the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns, which are different in every cycle. For example, there was no Republican caucus in Iowa 2004, when President Bush sought reelection.
The turnout rate has historically been low in Iowa caucuses, but the youth turnout rate was much higher than in recent years. This result continues a trend observed in other elections since 2000. In the 2006 congressional elections, the voter turnout rate among 18-to-29-year-olds increased by three percentage points compared to the previous congressional election of 2002. And in the 2004 presidential election, the national youth voter turnout rate rose 9 percentage points compared to 2000, reaching 49 percent. In 2004, under-30-year olds were registered to vote at the highest rate in 30 years.
"Younger Americans are doing their part, registering to vote, paying more attention to issues and politics, and now turning out for the Iowa caucuses," said CIRCLE Director Peter Levine. "Now it is up to political leaders to reach out to younger Americans and run campaigns that address their issues and concerns ."
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