Young adults are expected to turn out in droves to vote in the 2020 presidential election, a figure that could approach 2008 totals, according to a poll conducted by the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Sixty percent of respondents in the 18-29 age group surveyed in the Harvard poll said they will “definitely be voting,” compared to 47% who said the same in 2016 a week before the election.
The 2008 election, which President Barack Obama won decidedly, saw the highest youth turnout since 1984, with 48.4% of eligible adults under the age of 30 turning out to vote.
An estimated 22 million young people voted in the national election in 2008, and Obama beat his opponent by 33% among this age group. Many political analysts have suggested that the youth vote was crucial to Obama’s victory.
The same could be true for Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden. The poll found that 47% of young American voters view Biden favorably, compared with 34% percent who viewed him favorably in spring 2020. Fifty percent of young American voters polled also said they would vote for Biden, compared with 26% for Trump.
“Young Americans recognize that the issues that impact their day-to-day lives are on the ballot, from healthcare and mental health to racial and social justice. The unprecedented interest in this election and the significant increase in early and mail-in ballots portend historic turnout,” said Mark Gearan, director of Harvard's Institute of Politics. “As this generation becomes the largest voting bloc in the electorate, their notable civic participation is a very good sign for the future.”
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