Young Adults Rock the New Hampshire Vote

Building on the momentum of last week’s historic turnout in Iowa, 18-29 year olds in New Hampshire today turned out to the polls in huge numbers, in some locations spilling out the door and forming lines up to an hour long as large turnout exceeded expectations. (See photos: here) Today’s results reinforce the fact that young voters will play a critical role in the 2008 elections.

According to CNN’s exit poll, 18-29 year olds made up 18% of voters in the Democratic primary today, up from 14% in 2004. Among Republicans, 18-29 year olds made up 14% of voters. (there was no 2004 Republican exit poll)

Given these numbers and word from election officials that turnout is “absolutely huge” statewide, it’s clear that young voter turnout is up significantly today.

In fact, 18-29 year old voters made up a larger share (18%) of today’s Democratic primary vote than either 30-39 year olds (15%) or 65 and over voters (13%) did.

“Clearly, 2008 is the year young people are Rocking the Vote,” said Heather Smith, Executive Director of Rock the Vote. “When candidates reach out to young voters and talk to us about issues we care about– health care, Iraq, education, and the environment– we respond and vote in powerful numbers.”

“Young voters’ energy this election year is amazing,” continued Smith. “Across the country, young people are organizing on their campuses and in their communities, getting registered, volunteering for campaigns, getting their friends involved, and getting out vote. In 2008, Rock the Vote will run the largest youth voter registration drive ever– registering two million 18-29 year olds– and work to increase young voter turnout to the polls for a historic third election in a row. Given the energy so far this election cycle, I have no doubt young adults will Rock the Vote in November.”

According to the CNN exit poll, young Democrats split between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton while young Republicans voted for John McCain.

    * 18-24 year old Democrats supported Barack Obama (61%) over Hillary Clinton (22%);

    * 25 to 29 year old Democrats supported Hillary Clinton (37%) over Barack Obama (34%);

    * 18-29 year old Republicans voted for John McCain (27% of 18-24 year olds and 37% of 25-29 year olds) over Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Mike Huckabee.

In New Hampshire, Rock the Vote worked online and on the ground to turn out young voters today. Rock the Vote staff and volunteers organized on Facebook, did get-out-the-vote reminders at Dartmouth College, placed ads online and in student newspapers, distributed get-out-the-vote toolkits to high schools, and secured radio DJ’s in New Hampshire to run PSA’s reminding young listeners to vote.

Looking to November, young voters’ record turnout in New Hampshire and Iowa indicates that 2008 is shaping up to be the third consecutive major election in a row with strong young voter turnout. Turnout went up significantly in 2004 ? by 4.3 million over 2000 levels ? and went up again in 2006, that time by 1.9 million over 2002 levels. In 2008, there are 44 million eligible 18-29 year old voters in the U.S., more than one-fifth of the electorate, a political powerful group that campaigns now know they must mobilize to win.

For more on Rock the Vote and young voters’ turnout to the primaries, see and also check out our blog,


Rock the Vote’s mission is to build the political clout and engagement 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.