The youth vote was instrumental in 2022 — maybe more so than we had already realized
New data out this week from Democratic firm Catalist further demonstrates the power of young voters in the 2022 midterms.
At risk of starting to sound like a broken record…
New data out this week from Catalist further demonstrates the power of young voters in the 2022 midterms. In a section of the Democratic data firm’s “What Happened in 2022” report out Thursday, Catalist called out Gen Z and millennials for their seismic impact on the outcome of the midterms.
The data reconfirms that young voters not only turned out in high numbers, but that young Americans helped Democrats win key races and clinch seats the party may not have held onto otherwise.
“Gen Z and Millennials played a remarkable role in the 2022 election, voting heavily for Democratic candidates and exceeding their turnout from 2018. That makes this the second midterm cycle in a row where young voters have not only defied conventional wisdom about their willingness to turn out, but delivered decisive victories for Democrats. Seeing these trends requires taking a generational view of the electorate based on birth-year cohorts, not just snapshots of voters who fall into a specific age range in a given election year,” the report says.
Worth noting: Catalist’s data differs from some other youth vote calculations in that the firm considers both Gen Z and millennial demographics as part of the youth voting bloc.
“Catalist uses Pew definitions” — “Gen Z is '97 to '12 and Millennials are '81 to '96 so the oldest Millennials would be 42 this year,” the firm told The Up and Up.
According to Catalist’s data, “the Gen Z and Millennial cohorts grew from 23% [in 2018] to 26% [in 2022] of voters.”
Beyond noting increasing youth voter turnout, Catalist’s report emphasizes that youth support (amongst 18-29-year-olds) for Democrats was in the 60s for the fourth major election cycle in a row.
“Democratic support among 18-29 year old voters remained high, standing at 65%, exceeding Biden’s performance in 2020 by 3 points,” the report says.
To get a bit more context, I asked the team at Catalist a few follow up questions. They were adamant that the youth vote really was instrumental in 2022 — maybe more so than we had already realized.
Here’s some of what they had to say:
In explaining whether the youth share of the electorate rose or youth voter turnout rose, Catalist communications director Aaron Huertas said:
“Youth turnout actually went up in heavily contested elections among people who were eligible in both 2018 and 2022, so it's not just more people turning 18 and being able to vote.”
Asked what he would say to those who are skeptical that young voters are demonstrating continued high youth voter turnout, Huertas said:
“The old conventional wisdom about young voters should be thrown out the door. They’re showing up and they’re overwhelmingly voting for Democrats.”
Huertas pointed to the line from the report citing young peoples’ support for Democrats: "This marks the fourth major election in a row where Democratic support stood at the 60s or higher, marking a large and consistent Democratic advantage from the time Trump was on the ballot in 2016."
“Youth turnout did surge. The 65+ statistic is a result of Baby Boomers turning older than 65. That combined with higher levels of support for Democrats made young voters a decisive force.”
Huertas emphasized Catalist’s data when it comes to the diverse range of young voters who turned out for Democrats.
“Because younger generations are more diverse, sometimes people assume that’s what’s driving the change here, but we actually see very high levels of support from young voters of color and increasing support from young white voters — so this is a multi-racial coalition of young voters who are turning out and electing Democrats in heavily contested races,” he said.
Youth vote in the news 🗞
Opinion: Efforts to suppress the youth vote are poking a bear, Sara Guillermo for The Hill
Young voters powered Democrats’ wins in 2022. Will they show up for Biden?, David Lauter for the Los Angeles Times
Young voters respond to 2024 hopeful’s call to raise voting age, Fox News panel
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