Analysis: Young voters supported Obama less this time, but may have mattered more
Obama’s support among young voters declined among many of the same subgroups in the overall electorate in which he lost ground, particularly whites, men and independents. Obama won a majority of white non-Hispanics under 30 in 2008, but lost this group to Romney this year. In contrast, Obama won young African Americans and Hispanics by margins that were about as large as in 2008.
His losses among young voters since 2008 might have been even greater, but for the fact that the under 30s are by far the most racially and ethnically diverse age group. Just 58% are white non-Hispanic, compared with 76% of voters older than 30. A recent report by Pew Social and Demographic Trends found that minorities are on track to become a majority of the overall population by 2050.
Young voters continue to identify with the Democratic Party at relatively high levels and express more liberal attitudes on a range of issues – from gay marriage to the role of the federal government – than do older voters. In fact, voters under 30 were as likely to identify as Democrats in the 2012 exit poll as they had been in 2008 (44% now, 45% then). And they are the only age group in which a majority said that the government should do more to solve problems.