Young Voters Turn Out Huge to Iowa Caucuses, Propel Obama and Huckabee to Victory

Young voters turned out in big numbers to the Iowa caucuses tonight and propelled both of the winning candidates to victory. Among 17-29 year old Democrats, 57% supported the winner, Barack Obama, and among 17-29 year old Republicans, 40% supported the winner, Mike Huckabee, according to the CNN entrance poll.

“Tonight showed that candidates who court young voters will win elections,” said Heather Smith, Executive Director of Rock the Vote. “Young voters turned out for candidates who spoke to them, talked about issues they care about, and asked for their votes. Clearly, young voters are a political powerhouse in 2008 and will play a major role come November.”

According to CNN’s entrance poll, 17-29 year olds made up 22% of Democratic caucus-goers, an increase of five percentage points over 2004 and more than this age group’s share of the population (21%). Among Republicans, 10% of caucus-goers were 17-29 years old (there was no Republican caucus in 2004 for comparison).

Fifty-seven percent of 17-29 year old Democrats caucused for Barack Obama, 14% for John Edwards, 11% for Hillary Clinton, and 10% for Bill Richardson. Among 17-29 year old Republicans, 40% caucused for Mike Huckabee, 22% for Mitt Romney, and 21% for Ron Paul. (CNN entrance poll)

In addition to campaigns, nonpartisan organizations including Rock the Vote ran aggressive young voter outreach campaigns. With Iowa PIRG’s New Voters Project, Rock the Vote ran a “Rock the Caucus” campaign to mobilize high school and college students to turn out to the Iowa caucuses. Rock the Vote reached out to more than 20,000 young adults during the Iowa campaign, through class presentations, mock caucuses, online organizing, high school parties, and a voter education campaign.

Young voter turnout is on an upward trend. 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. Given this momentum and tonight’s strong young voter showing in Iowa, the 2008 elections are shaping up to be the third consecutive election in a row with increased young voter turnout.

Check for the latest info on young voter turnout in Iowa.


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 Caucuss is a joint nonpartisan program of Rock the Vote, Iowa PIRG’s New Voters Project, and the Iowa Secretary of State Michael A. Mauro that encourages young voter participation in the 2008 Iowa presidential caucuses. Both the Iowa Democratic and Republican parties have endorsed the program.