In 2008, two-thirds of Americans ages 18 to 30 cast their votes for Barack Obama. This year, 60 percent of the Millennial Generation were eligible to vote, and again they threw the bulk of their considerable voting weight to Obama.
In California, college-based get-out-the-vote efforts and vote-by-mail options succeeded in getting Millennials to the polls, not to mention youth-specific causes like Proposition 30, on which funding for California’s higher education system hinged. There can be no doubt that Millenials are a game-changing addition to the 21st century electorate. And despite their ethnic, social and educational diversity – 40% of Millennials are non-white -- they show a surprising unity in their choices, skewing in favor of social causes and Democratic candidates.
Over the next two presidential election cycles, the entire cohort will reach voting age, representing 95 million votes up for grabs. How will their choices shape Congress? What decisions will they make regarding same-sex marriage, reproductive choice, voters’ rights? Looking ahead to likely presidential candidates, who will appeal to them the most? What does the Millennial vote mean for 2016, and beyond?
Michael D. Hais
Winograd and Hais are the co-authors of “Millenial Momentum: How a New Generation is Remaking America” and “Millenial Make-over: MySpace, YouTube and the Future of American Politics”