Rock the Vote’s Post-Super Tuesday Poll Reveals Young Voters Energized, Passionate, and Engaged in this Election

A Rock the Vote poll released today, confirmed what we have been seeing play out in the 2008 primary contests — young voters are energized and engaged in the 2008 elections like never before and closely attuned to pocketbook issues – the economy, health care, and college affordability – as well as the war in Iraq. The poll shows a strong and positive attitude toward this election cycle: an overwhelming majority (89%) believe they have the power to change our country and 75% believe young people are making more of a difference than usual this election season. When asked which candidate they would send to the White House if the presidential election were held today, young voters favored Hillary Clinton (47%) over John McCain (35%), and Barack Obama (57%) over John McCain (27%).

Rock the Vote, in conjunction with the bi-partisan polling team of Ed Goeas of The Tarrance Group and Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners, commissioned the first post-Super Tuesday poll of young adults, coming on the heels of unprecedented young voter turnout in the 2008 primaries and caucus. Over seven million young adults have cast their ballots in the early contests of the 2008 presidential election, doubling, tripling, and even quadrupling their turnout in nearly every primary or caucus thus far.

“The country is finally witnessing what Rock the Vote has known since 2004 – young voters are key in shaping the political landscape of our country. They are showing up at the polls, getting their friends to vote, and volunteering for campaigns in record numbers,” said Heather Smith, executive director of Rock the Vote. “The Millennial Generation is poised to make 2008 the third major election in a row with increased young voter turnout. Unlike any group of young people in decades, today’s young adults are demanding action in our country and making known they are an invaluable group for candidates to win the election in November.”

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Under-30 voters top concerns include jobs and the economy (17%), the war in Iraq (12%), health care (11%), and college affordability (10%).
  • Among economic issues, lack of jobs that pay decent wages (20%), rising health care costs (16%), and expenses like childcare and college tuition (10%) were cited as the most important economic issues.
  • On Iraq, 36% of young people are ready to bring the troops home while 33% feel we should withdraw some troops, and 20% believe we should keep the number of troops as it is now. 
  • Young people are passionate and engaged about the election: 80% say they are likely to vote in November and 69% are excited to vote this fall.
  • When asked party affiliation, young voters considered themselves Democrats (47%), Republicans (28%) and Independents (16%).
  • Sixty-eight percent feel the direction of the country is on the wrong track.
  • Conversations with friends (60%), online videos (34%) and campaign websites (24%) topped the list as resources young people use to obtain information about Presidential candidates and the election.

  • “It is clear that 2008 is the year of the young voter,” said Celinda Lake, President, Lake Research Partners. “Young voters are choosing Democrats by huge margins in the 2008 primaries and caucuses, and voting in record numbers – like they did in 2004 and 2006. Any candidate who wants to win in November should know that mobilizing young voters is a necessary and winning part of victory in 2008.”

    “In 2008, Republicans have an opportunity to reach out to this large and increasingly active group of voters,” said Ed Goeas, President and CEO of The Tarrance Group. “Young Republicans are strongly favorable to John McCain and are as engaged in winning in 2008 as any group of young voters we’ve seen in decades. By reaching out on young adults’ top issues – the economy and Iraq – we can and must target young voters to win in 2008.”

    This year, Rock the Vote will run the largest youth voter registration drive in history by registering two million young people to vote. To date, more than 600,000 individuals have downloaded voter registration forms through Rock the Vote’s website. Through our online voter registration tool, mobile marketing, a youth issues forum, get-out-the-vote events, and a summer concert tour, we are reaching out, building on the energy and activism of young adults, and empowering them to make their voices heard.

    The full Rock the Vote 2008 Young Voter Poll and analyses from The Tarrance Group and Lake Research Partners are available at

    Lake Research Partners designed and administered this survey, which was conducted by phone using professional interviewers. The survey reached 668 young adults (18-29) nationwide. The base sample of 518 interviews nationwide included 170 respondents reached on cell phones and 348 respondents reached on landlines. There was an oversampling of 75 Latinos and 75 African Americans, for a total of 668 interviews. The survey was conducted February 9-17, 2008. Telephone numbers for the survey were drawn using random digit dial (RDD). The data were weighted slightly by region, race, party identification, and phone usage in order to ensure that it more accurately reflects the population. The margin of error for the survey is around +/- 4.4 percentage points.


    Rock the Vote’s mission is to engage and build the political power of young people in order to achieve progressive change in our country. Rock the Vote uses music, popular culture and new technologies to engage and incite young people to register and vote in every election. And we give young people the tools to identify, learn about, and take action on the issues that affect their lives, and leverage their power in the political process. Rock the Vote is creative, effective, and controlled by nobody’s agenda but our own – we tell it like it is and pride ourselves on being a trusted source for information on politics. We empower the 45 million young people in America who want to step up, claim their voice in the political process, and change the way politics is done.